the other day, i met a dude who drives a total piece of junk for a car. rust had completely eaten the rear fenders so that when he drove in the rain, the rear tires kicked water up into the trunk of the car, which routinely soaked the rear carpet and caused it to go mouldy and the metal in the trunk and rear seats to also rust. the engine had a critical failure that kept reoccurring, and had actually occurred again on the very day i met this guy. he said he had driven the last 30 minutes home with no power steering, alternator, or water pump. i said, “no water pump? how did you drive 30 minutes with no water pump and not overheat it?” he essentially replied that he did overheat it, but he was hopeful he did not overheat it enough to damage the head or head gasket. he mentioned that the clutch master cylinder leaked and needed to be replaced.
the interior of the car looked like a toilet. there was dirty, wet-looking clothes bunched up into gross balls; food wrappers; filthy seats torn to shit; so much dirt that the guy couldn’t have vacuumed the thing in at least a year; trim pieces ripped or hanging off…in a nutshell, the car was a beater.
that’s all fine. i understand the practical nature of cars, and how beaters fit into the grand scheme of things. but what didn’t make sense was this guy’s perception of his piece of shit car. he kept telling me how he was going to swap the rear end with a beefier one from another car, swap in a limited slip differential back there, do a rear disc brake upgrade, cut out the rusted out rear fenders and weld in new rear fenders from another car, lower the car, and do a really complex engine swap. in his mind, all that car needed was a little elbow grease and it’d be the hottest rod on the block.
but i notice a lot of people wear similar rose-tinted glasses when they look at their junk cars. i’ve even met a handful of people who have mocked my cars and commented on how ugly or what beaters they are, while they themselves are driving shitboxes similar to the one i just described. when this has happened, i have turned the other cheek because i knew i wasn’t dealing with a reasonable person. i was dealing with a person who was clearly in denial. it’s been hard to bite my tongue and not point out the stained carpets, overpowering gas fumes, rust, clunks, dents, and gross interiors, but i know that saying anything would be like telling an alcoholic that they have a problem: just like most alcoholics would say “no i don’t, i drink because i like it,” these folks would say “well, i’m going to fix all those things just as soon as i have a chance.” and of course, they’d never get to them.
i wouldn’t have a problem with all this if these folks didn’t think their beaters were in a different league than my beater. i know my car is old, rusted, has high kms, and quite a few quirks. i love it despite those things and can admit that to anyone else, it’s a turd. so i wish other people could be more realistic and less prideful about their turds. they’re really just pots calling the kettle black.