“Is that what you’re driving now?” asked Dave Rodriguez of Superior Electric when he spotted me outside the Marathon Shores post office last week.

Yes, that’s what I am driving now.

I traded my 2011 mom SUV/station wagon for my oldest daughter’s 2004 Hyundai Tiburon with 185,000 miles. It was a spur-of-the-moment switch when it became abundantly clear that she could no longer quarantine with her parents and little sister. Not for one more second. Although there was some discussion about the inequality of the trade, I was secretly pleased — I had come to hate my car and wanted it gone. (“Honey, I am afraid I am gonna hurt it,” was met with my husband’s customary stoic silence.) 

I call the Tiburon my “corona car.”

First the cons:

  • It looks like it has leprosy. The clear gel coat has melted off in places. It has the unfortunate tendency to grow mold on the porous surface. The front and back bumpers are, uh, misshapen. 
  • There are key parts to the automobile that are not functioning. For example, the driver’s side door handle is gone. My husband made me a “key” which is a long metal hook that one inserts into the opening, chants the right order of cuss words, and then pulls back to release a latch. 
  • Also, the struts for the hatchback are no longer operational. I worry that it will cut me in half as I try to load groceries into the back one handed while the other hand is holding up the inexplicably heavy hatchback.
  • Gunshots randomly ring out from the back seat causing the driver’s heart to cease beating. The source is a hidden leak that soaks the back speakers, causing them to “pop,” although that seems like a mild description of the violent noise.
  • Finally, you better have your seatbelt on by the time the corona car hits third gear. The transmission bucks and judders like a prize-winning rodeo bull. 

Now the pros:

  • It’s a SPORTS CAR, for god’s sake, and I have never owned one. The car weighs the same as a sleeper sofa and has six cylinders. It can FLY. 
  • I don’t owe anything on it and it’s not worth fixing up. There’s something incredibly freeing about driving a car that is worth exactly the dollar amount that is currently in the gas tank. For example, when I fill it up it’s worth $20. Two weeks later, it is worth $12.50. 

When the transmission does give out — next week or next year — I am prepared to walk home with some fond memories and no worries. In the meantime, I will continue to drive it like I stole it. 

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