- Eri versus...no name....

Toyota-Toe

To any loyal readers out there, there is a small, dark secret I've yet to reveal to you about my dear 1991 Cadillac DeVille. Though I will always consider Dezzy to be my first car...she technically isn't. The Cadillac was actually a gift from my mother to my learning-permit-self back in 2015. I paid for gas and other small expenses, but the title remained under my mother's name. Technically speaking, my first car would actually be a maroon 1998 Toyota Camry CE.

While not the flashiest car in existence, it has a lot to live up to. For starters, it's going to have to replace the very reason I moved out so soon to California in the first place. As of last week, my sister revoked her decision to have me car-sit her Prius for a mix of familial and financial reasons. I was more than a little disheartened, to say the least. My decision to leave Texas and the only life I knew hinged on the Prius, which is now being removed from the equation. But perhaps it's for the better. If I really wanted to forge my own path into adulthood, I couldn't keep relying on somebody else's car.

With a tall bill like that, my 1200-mile-away boyfriend and I began the search for some new wheels. Our first find was a 2006 Ford Fusion. I wasn't too excited about it, mostly due to aesthetic reasons (they look like knock-off Cadillacs). But besides that, the specs looked promising, and so I set off to see it in person.

It wasn't as great as the ad led us to believe. The interior smelled like a 12-year-old brew of tobacco and urine, and a grungy greenish-brown haze seemed to permeate every surface. The passenger seat cushion had a huge dark stain, feeding into some pretty disturbing conclusions. The electronic mirrors were inoperable. I left that shady dealership wondering if maybe I really was in over my head.

In an effort to distract myself from overwhelming hopelessness, I decided to pay a visit to the "Secret Beach Spot" saved in the Prius's navigation. It was a much-needed adventure. Something about seeing the wide, mostly-barren beach and the never-ending gray ocean-line calmed me. The world looked huge. My issues didn't mean anything to it and that was okay.

It was pretty chilly. I sketched some seagulls.

For the remainder of the week, we went over a number of other cars. By the end of the week, my boyfriend sent me a link to a maroon Camry, the price just barely within our emaciated budget. Unlike the Fusion, this car was from a private seller and I planned a meeting with him the following morning. As I drove to our agreed-upon mutual location, I wondered if it'd be so bad should he turn out to be a serial killer baiting unsuspecting 20 year olds with a 20 year old car. Thankfully, the seller wasn't trying to kill me, and I was even able to knock $50 off the selling price (my first ever barter!). The car ran smoothly and looked well-kept, if maybe a little dusty. I did find it odd that the seller had a lot of heavy items in the backseat and trunk, which he claimed was the result of a sudden, unexpected move. He did admit that the battery was prone to dying. Even so, I left the meet-up feeling elated and obnoxiously positive. We might've found a decent, cheap car.

It's now day 4 of owning the Camry. I drove it to work the day after purchasing it, and only then noticed how creaky the suspension was as I rounded corners and climbed hills. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the true reason the seller had the back weighed down (it definitely didn't creak like that when I first test drove it). I also noticed that the alignment on the front tires skewed to the right. Yesterday, I had to move the car slightly down the driveway so the back bumper didn't block the walkway. That's when the battery died.

All these issues really aren't so surprising coming from a very cheap, 20-year-old car, and I realize that I shouldn't get too upset about them. For the most part, they're all fixable. I'll just need to replace the battery, get the alignment and find the creaks. According to google and Scotty Kilmer, the creaks are usually due to worn-out bushings on the sway bar.

Oh yes, and the Camry has yet to be named...more on that later.

Things the Camry has on the Prius:

1. no blindingly shiny interior

2. much better visibility

3. i can see over the hood/dashboard without extending my spinal cord

4. i own it

5. no confusing push button ignition/push button parking gear

6. it doesn't look like a blueberry

So...take that, Eri...

(Little disclaimer: It's been a while since I've posted anything. November has been a long and stressful month, but I thought I should maybe keep all y'all updated on my automotive goings-on. Perhaps you'll see more later...)

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