The initial problems with the Mini got sorted out – mostly – probably helped along by the fact that I filed a complaint with the State Attorney General’s office, which has an online form just for car purchases, along with some helpful articles about car dealer scams that I wish I’d read before I went in to the dealer, just to test-drive. But it was a fast little car that was fun to drive and easy to park, and came with a Vampire Weekend CD that the previous owner had left behind and turned out to be perfect for those rare Seattle days when you can drive with the sunroof open.
Mostly, the Mini didn’t give me any trouble that couldn’t be fixed by a trip to my mechanic, who would roll his eyes and tsk, tsk me for buying it, then re-set whatever sensor I’d managed to trip and charge me the bare minimum. But strange things happened, for example, the right headlight kept going out, due to faulty bulbs, and though it seemed odd that one car should be the recipient of so many faulty bulbs, no loose connection or other possible cause could be found. One of the dashboard airbag alert lights went on after some of The Child’s friends screwed around with the seat. It was re-set, but a few days later, suddenly lit again for no apparent reason.
I decided to ignore it, which is easy enough to do when you’re paying attention to all the little creaks and rattles, which the car had a lot of. I also began watching my speedometer like a hawk: I got pulled over one day for being six miles over the limit, and not long after that, I a police car suddenly appeared behind me on a hill where people often speed. I didn’t get a ticket that day, but I got the message: We’ve got an eye on you. Clearly, bright little cars get noticed, even when they’re not red.
I tried to decide if I should do something about the car – like get rid of it. It was too small for the Red Dog and too small for The Child’s friends; but all the online car pricing estimators have to tell me is how deep I am in the hole on this car.
The hole was as deep as a well, or perhaps some other sort of pit.