(Not a) Monday Dare (but I can explain): No sir, I don’t care about my safety


Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: Schedule a car tune-up

I’ve suspected for some time now that I’m not a good driver or a responsible car owner. “Oh, Elizabeth, it’s probably because you’re an Asian lady,” you might say. That really offends me. LADY? How so? I already told you- I only wore the matching merino wool cardigan set with the jeweled collar and contrast stitching detail that ONE time because my Tupac vs. Biggie shirt was in the wash. Let it go.

I had to put a price tag on my personal safety yesterday. Not that Life is precious and priceless bullshit, but a real dollar amount value. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided my life was most certainly not worth the price of four new car tires.

As I was packing up my car after a Homegirls Buffets and Bling weekend trip, I noticed my front left tire seemed a little flat. I took a minute to congratulate myself for noticing and texted Harv so that he could also revel in my hyper-awareness. He didn’t say “Good job!” or “Sharp eyes!” or anything, which really hurt my feelings. Instead, he asked if I had already called AAA and reminded me to stayed inside my vehicle if I was on the side of the road. Clearly, he was focused on the wrong things, but I let him have it. Sometimes it’s just better to let people think what they want because they’ll never be able to grasp the gravity of a situation.

After the AAA mechanic inspected the tire and assured me that I just had low air, he suggested I roll by a tire shop before making the 300-mile drive home. When I hesitated, he launched into a passionate monologue. It might have been about safety. The only words that really stood out were “free inspection.” He should have started with that. I like free.

When the tire shop technician brought in two of my tires with a grim face, I braced myself for bad news. He said that both tires were worn dangerously low and were now unsafe, but one was worse than the other.

Me: Just give me one new tire.
Tech: I wouldn’t recommend it. The walls are separating. It’s dangerous. You need to get all four replaced.
Me: Sheesh. All four? What is that? Like, $100?
Tech: They’re $300 dollars. Each. $350 if you want the better ones.
Me: I don’t care about my safety then. Just replace the worst one.

It seemed like a solid decision, but after texting pictures of the supposedly worn tires to a few car fanatic friends and getting responses like “That’s an accident waiting to happen” and “You don’t deserve a car. You’re totally not responsible enough,” I reconsidered.

Now that I know my life is worth at least $1,200, I think about myself differently. Instead of writing a Monday Dare yesterday, I spent the evening making “I’m really expensive. Handle with care.” lapel pins for myself. Thank you for understanding.

Ever had to spend a shitload on car repairs? Or made an unsafe decision just to save money?

I waste a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram (username: flourishinprogress). Join me. Let’s be unproductive together.
image via blueq.com

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  • Misty

    You’re worth $1200??? Wow, this really puts you in a whole new light. I mean before, I figured you were just like me . . . worth whatever loose change you might find in your jacket pocket (along with a used tissue, a halls cough drop and some lint). But now that I know you are all priceless and shit, I may need to rethink our relationship. I don’t know if I can be friends with someone that’s all hoity toity like that, yo. It’s gonna ruin my street cred. I’ll have to think about this. Damn girl.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Can’t I just be the token high maintenance friend in the bunch? I promise I’ll try to act down to earth. Whatever that means. I’ll try to give it some more thought as the shirtless men fan me with leaves and feed me grapes.

  • Rainy Day

    Yep, just shelled out an unexpected $600 when I went for a FREE multi-point inspection. Apparently, the brakes were worn, the fluids were low and re-keying jammed door locks is pricey. But they did give me free roadside assistance for the next year. Feel your pain, though, but probably only half, $1200 is, like, twice as much!!! Drive those puppies to the ground! :D

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I love how FREE gets you in trouble…..every.single.time. Oh, the inspection is free? ($600) Sure, I’d love a free 5 min neck massage! (1 hour and $80 gone) The first three issues of that fashion magazine are FREE? (2 years and $24 down the drain)

  • http://twitter.com/realgtaylor Geoffrey Taylor

    Where to even begin! I once bought a car and drove it about 100 miles back home on cording tires. So far past the point of no return, there was no rubber left, you could see the metal cords clearly from the outside of the tire. That probably should have killed me. On another car, the tires wouldn’t hold air, every morning I would have to bike-pump them back up to a drivable air pressure. I’ll actually be doing a blog series on all my “broken car” stories there’s so many. Also one car wouldn’t start reliably and died twice on the highway. Another would stall itself at idle, so I had to be on the gas constantly. My last car was so rusty and broken they didn’t even bother doing an inspection, told me I needed to have panels replaced (like half of the body sheet metal). Needless to say, I disagreed and went to another shop instead. I so don’t care about my safety.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      DUDE, I fear for you. Like, seriously. Sometimes, you reveal things and I can’t help laughing (like the dented desk), but this string of bad car luck….I dunno….I just hope you win the lottery or find a baller job with a quickness so you can not only ride around in style, and SAFELY. xo

  • http://twitter.com/leannekoh leanne koh

    I just had a car repair a week ago, $1,010.33. The car was starting to jump on its own when I pressed on the gas pedal. They said that the wiring in the car had been exposed to water from the rain. Isn’t that what to hood of the car is supposed to protect? What we do for our safety. I guess the money spent was worth it. I love the lapel pin idea, that should go in your store! but before you do that, I’ll take a free one because i also like free stuff!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you for giving me that much needed “Good eye!” since Harv so clearly can’t bolster my self-worth when it was due. ;) WHAT IS UP WITH YOUR HOOD, YO?? Did they say whether it might happen again because there’s an issue with your hood? Because spending $1000+ for something twice is just….well, it’s just fucked up.

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    Thanks for reminding me that I have to send a nastygram to our dealership. I get my oil changed there, and have never in the last 8 years had to add windshield wiper fluid to my car, because they always top off. 2 weeks ago, I got my oil changed. I have not used wiper fluid since, and yet, today, as I was driving in a snow shower, I had no wiper fluid. That’s not exactly safe, since road salt leaves a nice whitish scum all over your windshield, kind of preventing you from seeing out. My dealership is taking shortcuts. We’ve bought 2 cars from them and were considering a 3rd, but I don’t know any more…

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Wow, that is just BAD business practice on top of being unsafe and totally cheap. I love how shortsighted they are….scrimp on a dollar’s worth of wiper fluid and lose out on the chance to sell another car. Girl, I’m just happy that you’re safe. Some shit coulda gone real wrong.

  • http://writingwishing.com/ Alison

    My husband makes these sort of decisions for me.
    Because, I’m clearly like you. I’d be like, bitch, $1200? Just give me the cheap stuff, I’ll be okay.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Good man. Our husbands clearly want the best for us. Even if our first inclination is to take that money and blow it on a slot machine in Vegas. Wait…maybe that’s just me.

  • dijo

    um… i don’t have health insurance right now. to save money…

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh man, health insurance….sigh. That stuff is so damn expensive. I lived without it for years, so I totally feel ya on this. I will be wishing you nothing but good health till you get some solid coverage.

  • Brittany Rae

    Car troubles are my best friend. I have had 10 cars in 15 years and I have replaced 2 motors. Hmmm. The worst part is I am a maintenance whore and I change my oil religiously and do all the scheduled maintenance. SO I am not so sure what the hell is going on. But the motors have set me back at least $5000…. Super.

    I also know in the world of tires the more “low pro” tire you have the more expensive they are. I had 18’s stock on my last car and they were insane, $500 a piece. My new Outback has like 16″ rims and “real tires” and they are not that bad- granted the tires were brand new when I bought it but I think they will be more in the $350 range. Whoo!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I feel so tilted that I had to pay so much for….rubber. Tell me a lovely piece of jewelry or bag cost $1200 and I wouldn’t bellyache so much, but I guess a necklace can’t really save your life the way a new set of tires can. I only added that last thought to make myself feel better. I was thinking out loud. If I had to have ANYTHING replaced for $5000, I would just throw my hands up and get a bus pass. I’m sorry you had to go through that, especially since you seem WAAAAY more responsible than I am as a car owner.

  • http://twitter.com/AwkwardlyAlive Awkwardly Alive

    I used to drive a pick-up truck that was tilted to the left. His name was Edward, and he would also randomly shut off when I was backing out of my driveway. His tires were always low and driving in the snow was really more like playing bumper cars. I’m way too poor to afford anything better, but apparently my parents believed that my life was worth saving a few Christmases ago, so now I drive a Jeep Wrangler that can punch people in the face. I thank my Mom and Dad every day. :)

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      R.I.P. Edward, but it totally sounds like it was his time to go!

      Damn, your mom and dad are seriously the biznessss for that Wrangler. I desperately wanted one in high school. The cool kids seemed to have ’em. I had a very old Volvo with no air conditioning. Pretty much the worst form of Hell in Texas summer heat.

  • http://profiles.google.com/anerdnamedjen Jennifer Folmar

    If I don’t want to do all 4 tires at once, I just buy 2 new ones, have those put on the back, and have the 2 best old ones put on the front. The new tires on the back are good because most cars are rear-wheel drive. I am in the process of getting my power steering fixed. It’s taking a long-ass time since I’m letting my boyfriend do it, but I don’t mind. It costs me WAY less (would’ve been art least $500 at a shop) and I get to either take his car or have him chauffeur me around.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I’m a huge fan of being chauffeured around. Not only is it easier for me, but it’s probably just safer for everyone on the road. ;) Pretty rad that your boyfriend can fix it. I love a man who can get down and dirty and work on cars.

  • esswai

    Certainly you are worth $1200 to somebody. Harv? Cal?
    More importantly, how much are the lives of your passengers worth to you? I assume Cal and Harv ride in this car from time to time…not to mention homies and homettes. Just ask everyone who gets into your car, “How much do you want to live?” and take a collection.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Can’t even tell you how hard I laughed at “How much do you want to live?” I only stopped laughing long enough to make a fancy little sign attached to a wicker basket to place in my car. I think you’re onto something.

  • Stephanie

    Car maintenance is so annoying. I thought about switching to a horse and buggy until I realized that I would have to pay to keep the horse fed. Boo.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I mulled this over for a minute and finally decided I had to keep the car because I don’t know where I would keep the horse. This is the only reason I decided against the horse.

  • mommyonthespot

    I almost spit my coffee out in a huge laugh all over my *new* computer as I read your sentence about the sweater set.

    I tend to think safety not in terms of cost and will pay anything for peace of mind. My husband thinks otherwise. Together, we make solid decisions.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I would never have been able to live with myself had I known I had been the reason a Mac was damaged.

      Opposites makes good teams. That’s what I tell Harv anyway when he gets frustrated with me.