Sunday, January 4, 2009

And Now A Word On Peugeots

Just as I was struck two years ago, I was again incredibly pleased to see that nearly half of the cars on the roads in Buenos Aires are Peugeots, and many the same model as my own beloved. Even with the many catastrophes with my students, the overwhelm of a foreign city, the deliciousness of the beef, I still have been dedicating many of my thoughts to my dear, old car, which I likely will no longer be driving anymore, after a hell of a run. This past year my job forced me into commuter life, which entailed 90 plus miles a day on Highway 101, and I assumed that the Peugeot would likely not survive the year. I must say I was not surprised, though I think everyone in my family was, when it not only made it through this year of freeways, but never even hiccupped the whole time...The engine that is. The car runs perfectly, but all of the accessories have gone to hell. Two doors don´t open, including the driver´s door, a third door barely opens, but I know the trick, the key is stuck in the ignition and cannot be removed, one window doesn´t roll down, and a few others labor, but function, the sunroof had to be caulked shut, and supported by wooden blocks because it leaked, the heater only works if you´re going over 65, and then it works far too well, the windshield is cracked, the allignment is off and unfixable, the paint is damaged and flaking off, it stalls when you crank the wheel all the way to one side or another which made parrallel parking in SF all year pretty interesting...But, the damn thing runs like a charm, and I have been waiting and waiting to drive it until it wouldn´t drive anymore, and it seems to be impossible. Once my own door stopped opening, and I had to get in on the other side and crawl through it was enough to convince me that it just isn´t cute anymore. When I get back from this trip, after the Peugeot has been sitting beneath the douglas firs in Lagunitas for however many months, I will turn the key, it will start right up, and I will only drive it for as long as it takes to get a new, far-inferior car that will probably break down twice a month, but will at least have AC, air bags and a seat buckle that doesn´t take a few minutes of wiggling to unbuckle. There, I said it, I will get a new car, and I´m sure my family is rejoicing at the proclamation.

And why am I writing pages about my car in an internet cafe in Argentina? Because I put the mental in sentimental, and by admitting to myself that my time with the Peugeot is over, and now admitting it to you all, I now have a long grieving period ahead of me. I learned how to drive that car when I was nine in a parking lot in Petaluma with my dad, and our dog Rosie in the backseat. It was given to me when I got my licence over nine years ago, and now is a part of my identity as critical as my nose, and I´m gonna miss it. And Willy, no, this does not mean you can bring it to the junkyard when I am gone, you filthy assassin...

Okay, that´s enough, I said it would be a word on Peugeots, but it turned into many, many words on just one, extremely special Peugeot...Thanks for listening.


  1. this blog thing is cool Sammy.

    What a beginning! Lost bags, pick-pockets, puking and mugging! Sounds like you're off to a great start hermano.

    I'm just sitting here in Lagunitas catching up on emails and thinking about how I can turn this crappy old (beautiful!) Peugot into a flower bed.

    ~ filthy assassin

  2. Aw Sammy,
    My heart goes out to you, while tears of laughter stream down my face. We lived for a year in SF and while the key was stuck in the ignition the whole time, it was never stolen. Your dedication is profound.
    I too have to retire my hot black Beamer with over 200,000 miles: the shocks are leaking oil, the alignment is off, the driver's door comes apart and i have to duck tape it back together to close it, the rear view mirror leaks when it rains,when i turn right at a speed over 55 the whole thing shudders like it's gonna break in half and leave me scooting in a seat just holding the steering wheel, the heater only works on my feet, the break pads are uneven, and not all the seat belts work. But the clutch is fantastic and except for the right turn thing, it runs perfectly.
    It also looks like a car that shouldn't frequent the backcountry. But pine needles, mud and a sports car somehow define me.

    Use your feet. They work best.

    love, ari

  3. You have a way with words, Sam. But come on??? YOU feel old? :) Cheers to you and your upcoming adventures!

  4. I've never owned a car in my life. How's that for a fun fact!

  5. your description is so perfect- i was just laughing out loud- especially at the image of you trying to parellel park on the streets of sf without being able to crank your wheel...i wish someone had gotten a video of that before you had to retire the poor thing. i think wills onto something, recycling it into a flower bed isnt too bad of an idea...
    hope your first month of travels are providing you with lots of adventure and success (not too many disasters). remember that a stop by brazil along your travels north is definitely welcome.
    take care,