If you go to a used car lot, there is a certain class of car that you can get pretty cheaply: The Yankee Car. A Yankee Car is a car that has all the fixins from a CD/DVD player to automatic door locks, but no air conditioning. I call them Yankee Cars because it’s almost a certainty came from points north of my southern home town and almost equally a certainty is that they lived in Dixie for all of two days before they decided it was time to buy a car that wouldn’t give them heat exhaustion.

As it turns out, I spent most of my driving formative years without air conditioning in my car. It takes some getting used to. For instance, if you’re going to be in the car for more than half an hour you have to have a change of shirts. You get used to a stripe of sweat where the seat belt went across your chest. Sometimes you get as involved as to have a particular “driving shirt” that you change into when you get in the car and then change out of as soon as you get wherever you’re going. I remember when I got my first car with air conditioning… I wasn’t allowed to use it in weather under 100-degrees for fear that it would break. 100 degrees in the Gulf weather belt is very, very hot.

So now we flash-forward to the present. It is my new theory that you haven’t lived in a place till you’ve had your car broken into there. I lived in Colosse for many years and my car stereo bills reflect it. My car was broken into three times in the last two years* I was there. It got to the point that I didn’t even bother locking my car in hopes that they’d spare the window. Ironically I never had a problem in my shabby apartment on the wrong side of the tracks… it was when I moved into a slightly more upscale apartment that it started. Then in Deseret my car was broken into**. And yesterdayI officially became an Estocadan

I actually spent a good portion of yesterday waiting for the shoe to drop. Every time I’ve had my car broken into, there was always something in there that it hurt to lose. My laptop, a ZIP drive (back when they cost something and were actually worth something). I was less concerned about the gaping hole where my car stereo used to be and more about the completely cleared out glove compartment. I didn’t have my car title in there, did I? Checkbook? Check from Ed McMahon for a million dollars? Knock on wood, none of the above. They did get my car’s registration papers, though, and maybe a birth certificate. And irony of irony, I actually had some gloves in the glove compartment from when I needed them in Deseret.

They did get my CDs, which is 95% not a problem as they were mostly burned***. There were a couple new ones in there, but I had ripped them… onto the hard drive that died a few days ago. So I have to buy those over again. It includes one CD I don’t even like that much, but it’ll be the third time I’ve had the buy the CD cause it was in my CD player the last time it was jacked. It’s good enough to buy back, though only barely. Part of me wishes that they’d taken a CD of greater personal import. Of course I say that and once upon a time they did: I had the only CD in existence for a band that my best friend was in.

More inconvenient than the lack of a car radio, however, is that the Ford Escort is a dumb car. For some reason they decided that instead of having a CD player like just about every other car in existence, they would put it in a ovular-shaped console and it would share said console with the Air Conditioning, so I’m without AC. It was because of the AC rather than the radio that I needed to take it in pronto. It’s a good time of year to be without AC, but you never know how long that’ll last. So I took it in and had the console repaired… except the AC, which they said they couldn’t do. I wish they’d have told me that I’d have to take it to the dealer anyway $300 earlier.

So I’m still without AC, which should be fine at least for another couple of days. It actually reminds me a bit of back in the day. Except not half as miserable. Yet.

* – This was back in the good old days before the recent PD manpower shortage, population boom, and crime-wave. I’d actually be more worried about my car these days.

** – This was a very instructive thing about living in semi-rural Deseret versus urban Colosse. In Colosse, the cop seemed genuinely annoyed that I called the police about $3000-worth of property lifted from my car. In Deseret I was less than $200 out and the cops gave me weekly updates on their investigation and I got a letter from the District Attorneys office letting me know that if they found the guy they would make him pay.

*** – Technically, according to the RIAA I now have to destroy my CDs because I’ve now illegally distributed their music. No joke, that is their stance on the issue.


Category: Road

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One Response to Yankee Cars Under the Southern Sun

  1. Hit Coffee » Global Warming, Cascadia-Style says:

    […] units to distribute among the poor. Cars from up north that don’t have AC end up in used car lots in no-time flat. Up here? Not so much. Clancy’s coworker and friend came within a h […]

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