It has been awhile since I’ve posted anything about the car that I bought last summer. Last April I bought a 1986 Honda SI hatchback because I had made a promise to someone special that I would buy a car before this person returned from a teaching job in France. While it is true that I needed wheels badly, I was mostly purchasing the car as a decision we made as a couple. She even discouraged me from visiting her in France because she wanted me to save up the money to buy a vehicle. The bitter pill to swallow about the car acquisition is that in the end, she listed her anxiety about her irrational assumption that I would NOT get a car as a prime reason for pulling away from me and into the arms of someone else.
For months driving my car was a reminder that this person who I loved dearly was not coming back to me. It was the start of a long dark summer.
To make matters worse, shortly after buying this car many unfortunate car related events shadowed my summer further.
The cursed vehicle which I named, “The Spirit of 86” got impounded 10 minutes after I drove away from the lot (with the bill of sale in hand) by a CHP officer who pulled me over because the car did not have a license plate on it yet. I had to pay over a grand in fees to get my license re-instated and of course the towing and impound costs.
The back of my hatchback window shattered when it was accidentally slammed shut too hard by my guitarist.
And of course, the steady stream of parking violations…
About 2 months into owning the car, some essential belt broke and had to be replaced in order for the car to function. It was a $250 fix.
Then things seemed to steady themselves. Other than a few ill timed break light failures which were easily (and cheaply) fixed, the Spirit of 86 seemed to run smooth. I even felt confident enough to embark on two long trips: one to Arizona to visit a dear friend in Prescott and a second trip to Nevada to attend Burning Man. The Spirit made both trips without altercations. The curse of the Spirit of 86 seemed to have been lifted and I was enjoying a renaissance of mobile freedom and ease of travel.
As a result I was taken by surprise when the little red Honda’s engine decided to not turn over shortly after midnight after a few beers with friends at Congregation Alehouse in Pasadena. I was getting no lights and no juice and assumed the battery was dead. AAA was called and when the truck arrived, the battery did not charge. The problem was diagnosed as a small blown bus fuse. I left the car there overnight and crashed at my friends place. The next day I walked for miles to an auto parts place and purchased the new bus fuse that was blown out. I replaced it and hoped for the best.
AAA was hailed again and they managed to jump start the battery. I thanked them and drove 3 blocks where it stalled out in the left turn lane. I pushed the car off the road and called AAA again. The same truck showed up and tried to jump the battery again and finally they determined that the car needed a brand new battery. I bought one from them right off the truck and we put it in and the car started right up!
I was super late for a gig as a result but I was happy to be back on the road.
Here is a video of me trying to fix the problem the next day in front of Congregation Alehouse: