I've always loved cars.
Even after that fine day when it dawned on me that they are nothing but gold-digging whores: sexy and fun to ride, but at the end of the day, they will steal all your money.
It's unfortunate, then, that I'm a bit of a sentimental guy when it comes to the four-wheeled harlots. The prevailing logic is that one should dispose of cars after five years; the logic being that after half a decade, the broad's just going to bring you nothing but trouble. Considering the cost of maintaining cars, that's good advice right there.
Unfortunately, logic and I aren't exactly besties.
Hence, you can consider my garage a whorehouse lined with aging, disease-ridden, and cantankerous tramps. True, most of them have retained their exterior beauty, but, like a drag queen sans make-up, the true horrors lie underneath.
Like any pimp, I have a favorite in my redoubtable harem, and the apple of my eye has always been Mia. I acquired her more than a decade ago and, contrary to the sage "after-5-years-ditch-the-bitch" credo, I have kept her all these years like Gretchen Barretto. She's still sexy as all hell, despite minute, barely-discernible physical imperfections. She's still a "guaranteed head-turner", as the car ads would say. It is an indicator of my familiarity with her that I find myself pleasantly surprised any time people praise her good looks that I have long taken for granted. Nevertheless, like any D.O.M. happy to see his acquisitions being appraised so well, I simply smile and carry on.
However, like many beautiful things, Mia costs me a pretty penny just sitting there. And when she has one of her numerous tantrums, she gouges me for a hefty sum.
Several days ago I felt guilty about abandoning her to languish in the garage for the past six months, a consequence of my preference to being driven around in a service vehicle rather than battling traffic and circling the labyrinths of Makati on my own trying to secure a good non-towing parking slot. With the majority of the year's workload over and, consequently, the driver and service car not at my beck and call, I thought I might reacquaint myself with my little abandonada and take her out for a little spin - just to relive the good times.
Her revenge, of course, was swift: her engine would turn over, then promptly quit. Turn over, quit. Turn over, quit.
Just like a petulant, vengeful hussy to pull a coitus interruptus.
After a quick but thorough process of elimination, it became apparent that Mia was beyond any automotive wizardry I and my kinsmen possessed. And so for seven days, she sat out in the rain like a silvery Sadako, stone-cold and spitefully staring at me with her retractable eyes.
Today, the planets aligned enough that I was able to summon my towing service to forcibly drag Mia from her peevish sit-down strike in front of the house, and deliver her to the clinical ministrations of the casa.
Verdict? It wasn't the fuel line, nor the carburetors, nor a clogged-up exhaust.
Just like the one she burned the last time.
More like Pandora's Box, I grumbled, out of which fly all kinds of nasty, expensive plagues.
Still...thankfully nothing's wrong with her heart - the purring thing known as the engine - save for a wonky timing belt. And the alternator also needed to be replaced. And of course, the aircon needs freon. And the windshield wipers are shot. And we need to get a new motor for the power windows. And I might want to have the canvas top looked at. And what did I say about Pandora's Box again?
But car ownership, like having mistresses, is a privilege - one that we pay for dearly. At any rate, these other issues are minor, all things considered. The bitch is alive, and she is running.
Of course, I have known Mia for a long, long time, and I know she is nowhere near finished. Like any mistress, she can be bribed with superficial trappings: a long-overdue repaint, a detailing session, perhaps, and better mags.
But her heart is beating and it is black. She will love me once again, but before that, she will first exact a long drawn-out revenge. Just like she did the last time. And the time before.
Then again, you know what they say: hell hath no fury like a convertible scorned.
The sick bitch.