near the edge

It's a miracle on Sixth Street.

For those of you feeling a little glum with Christmas getting buried in the muck of commercialism, buck up there's enough untainted peace, joy and love to go around. Especially if you own a car like mine.

Sure, it's not particularly glamorous to drive around in a 1980 Chevy Citation, two-tone blue with oxidation spots. It's a telltale sign when your car isn't worth shelling out for a parking permit. But there's something peaceful about driving a heap for as long as I've driven the Blue Beast. You don't have to wash it.

When new people get in my car, I sheepishly deliver a little precursor before entry. It goes something like this: "I got my car for free. It was once used by Kansas farm boys to check their crops," I drone like a stewardess. "They did crazy things to it until I brought it home, saving it from a life of torture and cruelty." Kind of like bringing home a pet veal.

We've had some good times, me and my wretched automobile. I remember the time I found baling wire wrapped around the wheel rim. Then there was the time there was tin foil crammed into the fuse box. Such ingenious electricians, those farm boys.

I've had the car since I was 17 years old, ample time to learn to love its eccentricities. Periodically, my parents taunt me by saying they'll help me get a new car. I jubilantly tell my friends they won't have to slouch under the saggy headliner, and I dream about dating men over 5 feet 7. But alas and alack, my parents lie.

Sometimes I consider standing on a street corner with a sign that says, "I am a poor college student that may have to live out of my car in May. It has child-proof windows and no air conditioning unless you count the air that leaks in through the vents. If any self-respecting dog had to live in my car he would die of embarrassment. Please help." Like anyone could read a cardboard sign that long whizzing by in a decent car.

Really, I can't complain. Most of my peers don't have the luxury of tooling around in such a chic mobile, complete with Fonzie-activated radio. But like a reliable friend, my car has never seriously failed me.

It is the car that will not die.

Believe me, I've tried. Once mid

the emergency brake went out and it slammed into a boulder on top of a nearby mountain. Lucky thing that boulder, or the car and I would've taken a nasty spill into oblivion. Then there was the time my friend Nick and I got lost somewhere in the Sonoran desert, running out of gas fast. I run my car on empty all the time but never has it left me stranded.

It's times like these when I can appreciate the selfless service that car has given me.

Once again my parents have pledged the new year will find me in a different car. I'm not holding my breath. But as long as it can get me home once more for Christmas, I'll still believe in miracles.

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