I’m not a car guy. I’ve never been a car guy. The car I drive right now, for example, is a twelve year old minivan with giant dents in every panel and an (ominous) habit of not shifting out of reverse when I ask it to. I could afford to make payments on something nicer, but that’s really hard to justify being that
a) the van rolls, and
b) I just… I really don’t give a shit about cars. And I certainly don’t give $200 a month’s worth of a shit about cars, so until it explodes or the transmission falls out the van is mine, and it’s good enough.
But fate is queer and fay and I find myself working a job which is involved with the auto insurance industry, and as a consequence, I spend a lot of time looking at cars. Thousands of them. Rank upon rank of the fuckers, from salvage yards and credit union parking lots all over this nation of ours. That’s most of my job: just sitting here, and looking at cars.
As a general rule of thumb this is unremarkable work. I do not return home from the office with wild tales about foreign lands, or burdened by classified secrets I can share with no one. The stories I do have mostly involve manually overridden R&I times and laughably inflated paint materials allowances. Occasionally I will get in a fight with a repair shop over the phone regarding insurance guidelines for frame rack setup time and the quality of aftermarket sheet metal. You’re riveted. I can tell.
Every once in a blue moon I get something kind of interesting. Cars that get repo’d from rural Appalachia are occasionally neat, riddled as they almost invariably are with large-caliber bullet holes. Repossessions out of Miami are also fun sometimes: my eyes trace out the single bullet hole through the driver’s side window, the thick caking of finger-print powder on the seats, the irregular chunks which the DEA cut out of the sheet steel as part of the standard cocaine smuggling search procedures. It makes my day.
And while this thing is not so, uh… I guess I hesitate to use the word exciting here, but it’s at least a little more interesting than the standard issue work assignment I get. Certainly enough to function as an excuse to spend the morning writing a blog post about rather than earning my check. It came across my desk a couple of days ago.
Well, I’m glad you asked! That, ladies and gentlemen, is a 2010 Ferrari California, present market value somewhere in the neighborhood of $141,500.00.
And you see all that damage? All that broken shit in need of fixing? See it? No? Well, neither do I. Left backup lamp is fucked and the thing probably needs some frame pulls, but that can’t be too expensive, now can it?
Well, it can. Estimated cost to repair: $62,000.
That’s pretty close to what my father earns in a year. It’s more than twice what I earn in a year.
I try to imagine owning that car. I try to imagine taking it out on the road. I try to imagine the heart palpitations I’d start having every time I saw a speed bump, or a branch in the road, or the weather forecast included the word hail. I imagine the doctor looking up from my chart with furrowed brow, and asking me if there are any sources of undue stress in my life, because the next coronary event could be the big one.
I can’t do it. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you pay to do that to yourself? Why?
Maybe it would make sense to a car guy – or a tube amp guy: