Shortly after my grandfather died, we traded in his car for something smaller–my mom helped my grandma pick out a little silver Corolla that was easier for her to drive for the brief time after that she still drove, and when she stopped driving, we’d often take her in that car to run errands. When she died a few years later, my mom bought out my aunt and uncle’s share of the car and took it and gave it to my dad.  I’d occasionally borrow it to drive to concerts in the city or go where I needed to go, including to and from work when I first started my job. Realizing that two cars with three adults plus my college-aged brother wasn’t ideal, my parents decided to buy my dad a new car and pass the Corolla onto me, where it stayed for about five years.

For the most part, it held up great over the course of those years. I don’t know how many miles I put on it personally, but with visiting Paul in State College every month or so over the course of almost two years, I did my share. It did get up to over 131,000. Gradually, more and more work needed done when it got inspected, meaning more and more money got dumped into it. We started talking about the possibility of trading it in and me buying a new car, but we were also suspicious that we were being ripped off by the dealership, which had come under new ownership. It was suspicious that after the owner changed and multiple reliable, familiar employees left, the car suddenly needed a couple hundred bucks’ worth of work every year when it got inspected–as did every other car in the family–and on top of that, we were hearing rumors from other customers and former employees that they were charging for work that either didn’t need done or they weren’t even doing. We decided to try taking it to a different dealership, and sure enough, it passed inspection with no work needed.

This year was different, though, and I kind of suspected it was gonna need some work. It wasn’t too bad, but they warned that it might not pass inspection next year, so my mom and I once again discussed the possibility of me getting a new car.

There were three things I was aiming to do after our wedding next year–four if you count having kids, but hey. Those things were buying a computer, buying a car, and buying a house. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on anything but the wedding, but my old computer started fizzling out earlier this year. I probably could’ve gotten away with holding out, but with a freelance writing career, I was afraid of ending up with a dead computer. So I bought that in March. Now my options were hope my luck holds out and that I didn’t have a car that failed inspection the same month as my wedding or bite the bullet and get a new car.

A former employee of the old dealership switched to a Honda dealership up the road due to aforementioned sketchy business practices, so I told my mom to have him keep an eye out for something similar in size to the Corolla, and that’s how I spent the span of about a week or so going back and forth to Uniontown to car shop.

While Paul got fitted for his tux for his brother’s wedding, my mom and I went to look at cars. Paul met us up there when we was done, and then we all went to lunch at Fiesta Azteca, the best Mexican place in town. Anyway, we looked at some Honda Civics and priced them, then Paul and I walked around the dealership lot back at home to compare. We found newer models at lower prices than Uniontown, but when we had both give me prices for trade-in, Uniontown gave me the better deal. I went back up again to look at some other cars they’d just gotten in, including a newer Corolla that I did prefer the look of, but in the end, a use 2015 Civic won due to more features, like side and backup cameras.  I’d initially been thinking of saving the money and buying a 2012 model, but we decided that spending a little more for the added safety features was worth it.

So not even two weeks ago, I drove away with a new (used) Civic. And then someone hit it in my parking lot over the weekend. Just my luck. So that’s another few hundred bucks not going to the wedding. Thanks, asshole.


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