1 of 365 – maybe? My Car

I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself because I was a bit disappointed about something and I thought – ‘Well, write a blog about it’. And then I thought, ‘Nah’. (Lazy by nature!!) Then I thought, ‘It’s a new year, you should write a blog every day. They don’t have to be earth-shattering. Anything will do. Just make the effort to write’. That thought wasn’t met with resistance (amazing!) so I’ve decided I will write something every day for the whole of 2014. But it’s already the 2nd of January so I’ll do 2 today to make up for yesterday.

1 of 365

Ok, what was I feeling disappointed about? Well, my partner, Carl, and his eldest son, Ben, have spent their entire weekends for the last 6 weeks fixing up my car. I’ve got a 1997 Hyundai Excel and it was in desperate need of a paint job. I bought it in March 2004 after my 1974 TA22 Celica was stolen. That car was going to turn 30 in the November, therefore becoming a ‘Classic’, but it was nicked in the February. I hope whoever stole it, appreciated its status!

Anyway, I bought my Hyundai off a lovely Lebanese man who was going back to Beirut. He smoked like a train and the ashtray was full of butts and there was ash all over the carpet but he probably figured he didn’t need to detail the car because it was such a great little thing, it would sell itself on its mechanical merits.

And my little car has proven to be a great buy. In the (nearly) 10 years I’ve had it, it’s had a starter thingy replaced and the petrol pump thingy has needed looking at but considering the way I neglect it and often forget to put in oil, water and air in the tyres, and rarely get it serviced, it’s a true champion.

Anyway, at some point in its life, it had been in a hail storm. The fix-up job was poor and so the paint started to crack and peel away. Carl said he’d re-spray it so after he and Ben finished restoring a ’66 Mustang (for which they won a Silver at Concours in October – well done guys. Outstanding achievement) it was the Hyundai’s turn. Originally it was just going to be re-sprayed the original white but then I decided I wanted red and silver. So for 6 weekends they worked hard to do all the prep work by hand (they work out of Ben’s pokey garage with a minimum of tools at their disposal. This is why the Concours win for the Mustang is a big deal.)

After a long wait, my Hyundai came home yesterday. And I was so excited … but when I saw it, I felt disappointed! The red is so strong that the silver looks insipid and they did a stripe to break up the 2 colours but it’s a bit wonky, a bit uneven and, in parts, untidily painted. There was overspray on the tyres. The badge was missing, the side mirrors were untouched and looked crappy and old, the door and roof strips hadn’t been painted yet, or even put back, because they need new clips, and a couple of chunks of paint had been pulled off around the door handle when the masking tape was removed!



In the overall scheme of the car and what was done to it, they are small, small things which will be fixed. The car will be finessed and completed in a few days. So why did I feel disappointed? How ungrateful am I? My talented, clever partner and my step-son had worked really hard for me and all I could do was nit-pick. What a cow!

But it wasn’t the car. To the very centre of my being, I appreciate all the time, hard work and effort they went to, and the degree of difficulty they faced working out of a small garage. I appreciate, and am grateful for, the 90% of the car that is perfect and lovely to look at and in the colour-scheme I chose. I am grateful for their talent, skills, patience, and care. I thank them very much.

So I asked myself, ‘What’s your problem?’ I’m quite anal and I quickly realised that I wanted my car to come back perfect. I wanted it to be all put back together, fully finished, and be pristine. I wanted it to look how I’d imagined it in my head. I wanted to be wowed. And I wasn’t.

But it’s not just because I’m anal. It’s really because I rarely get what I want and I often get imperfect things. Quite simply – I put up with sub-standard stuff. I buy clothes that never fit properly and wear them anyway. I buy uncomfortable shoes and undies, and suffer. Years ago, Carl bought me a toy Subaru WRX on-line and I opened it to discover one of the side mirrors was missing. Can’t even get a perfect toy! I bought some knee-high, lace-up boots on-line. There should be 17 eyelets but on the right boot, one side’s got 18! Dodgy stuff, all the time.

Carl surprised me with 2 awesome gifts – things I have always wanted to do: skydiving and V8 racing. I puked during the skydive and felt so ill all the way down because of the heat and the G-Forces and in the V8 I could barely reach the pedals (because I’m 5’ 5”) so I was at full-stretch which made it virtually impossible to drive properly! So disappointed. (They need to either have a height limit of 5’ 7” or have seats that move!)

When we went to America – we travelled far and wide and when we got to New York, it was late in the afternoon so we just hung around locally. The next day we walked the length and breadth of Manhattan Island because Carl was looking for a particular shop, which we never found, so by the time we got back to Central Park it was getting dark and we were too scared to go in. We had to leave for LA the next day so I just looked at it longingly from across the road as the sun sank! Who goes to NY and doesn’t pop into the Park!!!

I felt disappointed because I’m sick of putting up with sub-standard stuff. I’m sick of never having anything perfect and lovely and awesome and exactly what I want. I’m sick of putting up and shutting up. I’m sick of settling for less than what I want. Clearly, 2014 is my year to say ‘no’ to crap. I deserve good stuff. I deserve to be published and be able to quit my job which brings me no joy or satisfaction. I deserve top-of-the-line things. Not cheap, dodgy stuff. I deserve to have exactly what I want! For years I’ve compromised and just settled. But no more!

So, to try and get what I want with the car, and get it more aesthetically balanced, I asked that the roof strips be painted red and the door strips silver. Hopefully that will work. Or that the roof be painted red. Carl said he needed to re-visit the roof anyway, so that may be the way to go?? I’ll post a photo of the finished car when it’s all done.

But what I really, truly want is a convertible. I’ve always wanted one.

2014 – please deliver one to my door. Red would be perfect. Thanks.


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