Two cars are too much


February 13, 1984


Itís been one of those days, when a whole series of events caused the rise of an equal series of mixed emotions in me.

First of all there is the matter of the car.

Or should I label it Car D since there will be another car to consider. Car D for Datzun, the car I spent $200 to get tired for, wondering for the last two snow storms why I couldnít make a turn without slipping.

Bald tires, the man said, slipping me the bill.

Now I begin to understand how Fran gets around. When you donít think about now much, the car just goes.
But $200?

Somewhere in this deal I knew I was getting ripped off.

Actually it cost more, $38 more for the removal of the old cars and a close examination that told the man that my old tires were bald.

Iím angry just thinking about it, and the times Iíve wasted in my life worried over incidents just like this.

So, still steaming over this, I drove over to see my paycheck, a skimpy thing I knew, for which I worked only one day in the last two weeks.

I did expect something; just not a completely blank check.

One that said ďnon-negotiable.Ē

I nearly bit my tongue off in rage.

The bloodsuckers from Pennsylvania had taken every red cent, not a percentage. After taxes, I got nothing. They didnít even leave enough to pay my share on health insurance.

I had agreed to pay the child support so as not to get Louise in trouble. She was on welfare, and I gave her money directly which she couldnít afford to report or they would deduct it from her welfare or charge her with fraud.

They said she would lose welfare if she didnít report where I was and where I worked, so that they could collect the money from me welfare thought it was owed.

But sometimes, I worked so little there wasnít enough for them and me, and in this case, they got it and I didnít.

John, the salesperson at that particular Fotomat booth, talked a lot about the why and wherefores of political corruption.

We came to the conclusion that America had become very much like the Soviet Union short of our stepping over the dead bodies.

But even that seemed in the forecast for the future as the wealthy grabbed more from the poor and protected itself with the police.

All this paranoia just made my day a real pleasure, and came home to suffer a rare bout of writerís block. I came to the conclusion that what I was working on wasnít worth the effort, and my mood seemed to say, nothing was.

In the mail box, I found a letter from Louise.

Good news comes in bunches, I thought as I tore it open, and strangely enough, the letter had its share of good news Ė once I got passed the part of her begging for more money.

Thatís the problem with the blood suckers that robbed my pay check. They were perfectly willing to rob me blind, but less generous in making certain Louise got any of it.

I guess welfare needs it to build more nukes against the Soviet Union while starving babies in Nicaragua.

I told you Iím in a bad mood.

To top it off, Pauly called asking me how Iím doing.

This is always the first line in his in inevitable trying to con me out of something I wonít want to give him.

What he really wanted was for me to take the car back.

This is the second car. Letís label it Car P for Pinto.

The second car was actually my first car, a Ford Pinto I owned for nine years before giving it to Pauly in exchange for two guitars so that he could make his escape from Passaic.

I loved that car and so I was upset when I learned that he had parked in a corner of the mall where he worked, letting it get plowed in with snow and covered with leaves until the mall owners concluded it was abandoned and proposed towing it away.

And so I have to go out to where he lives this Saturday to help rescue him and the car, an unreasonable bit coming after my Saturday shift baking at the Willowbrook Dunkin Donuts Ė to unstick it from the snow and bring it home to Passaic again where it will once more feel wanted.

Pauly meanwhile has bought a moped and doesnít need the car even in the height of winter.

And so this contributes to my writerís block in that Iím conflicted about being the owner of two cars when I have a hard enough time finding parking for one.



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