Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of My 85 BMW.

Given my record with this blog has been so abysmal,I have decided to start a series to inform my readers of The Continuing Adventures Of my 85 BMW. You will recall that my car is always on the edge of disaster, given that it has 250,000 miles on it and my husband is less than enamored with it. The first adventure may be viewed by going back to my blog in April, 2010.

The last two months has generally been a good one for my BMW. The first thing worth reporting happened around the first of June when I was driving down the main street of our neighborhood in Berkeley, through what is generally called Gourmet Ghetto, which is dotted with some of the best restaurants in Berkeley. One, particularly, can claim this distinction: Alice Water's Chez Panisse. I was driving along in my 85, minding my own business, crossing in front of said restaurant when I felt another car hanging onto the rear of my car, much too close for comfort. Some nefarious driver wanted to cuddle with my 85 and I was not happy. Finally I roared around the car in front of me and pulled in front of it, breathing a sigh of relief, thinking I had left the other car far behind.

Suddenly another vintage 85 BMW pulled up next to mine with a young man at the wheel, obviously the same car. My car is a 535i; his was a 528, which is a less powerful version of my 535i. He rolled down his window; seeing he seemed to want to talk, I rolled down mine. The following conversation took place between our open windows.

"Is that an 85?!!" he asked.

"Yes, it is," I said.

"A 535i?"

"Yes." (This said proudly, maybe even a little sniffily, given mine is an 535i and his a 528).

"Did you have it painted?"

"Yes, I did, contrary to my husband's wishes." I wanted to give him some encouragement to have his painted. His
desperately wanted some paint.

"I just bought mine for $700! It runs like a top!"

"They're great cars," I said.

"They are! I guess I should think about having mine painted."

"Good!" I said.

He then roared around in front of my 85, just to show me that an 85 528 has just as much power as a 85 535i.

About three weeks later my husband and I were walking our dog, Plato, through a wonderful park just up from the Gourmet Ghetto. My husband was driving the 85 just to give it some exercise, so it didn't decide to stop on me in traffic. He parked next to the park, we walked the dog, and then came back to the 85, which looked it's smashingly best because it had just been washed.

A woman walked up to us and asked--you guessed it: "Is that an 85?!!"

"It is," I said.

"I had an 83," she said. "They're great cars!"

"Aren't they, though!" I said.

"I drove my 83 all up and down the East Coast for years, it ran like a top. And then I got in an accident and broke the axle. I cried when I had to junk it!"

I just about cried too. Junking a 535i is a horrible thought.

I now realize I have to google an 83 535i. I didn't know there was such a thing!

About three weeks later the time came that I always dreaded with my 85: renewing the license when a smog check was required. If it failed my car was dust, for sure. It has always passed but there's always the first time. The last time the person who did the test simply said it passed; then mentioned that manual transmissions did better than regular, for which I held a little hope for a good result on this test, as our has a manual.

This time did not start out well because I could not find the form and neither could my husband. I looked everywhere but "Bills Folder", which is not a folder my husband set up for someone named Bill, but a folder which holds our monthly bills. A month later I found it in that folder, by then of course it was too late. I have much less esoteric places to put bills but at least I generally know where they are.

We ended up going to AAA on a Saturday, which has a special service for idiots who lose the forms for renewing their car's license. My husband growled the whole way down to AAA. I kept thinking the office was going to be closed, upon which I would really be in trouble. The office was open, at least that problem was nonexistent: we ended up paying another $25.00 or so for the license. We had to have the smog check done before we could get the license, and it was another fifteen minutes to get to a smog check place. We left the car, walked Plato and came back in 45 minutes when the car was supposed to ready. I prayed the whole way.

The car was parked on the street; that looked promising. Jerry walked up to the attendant to pay the bill. When he came back, he had this to say:

"Well, the guy said our BMW was a great car."

"Really!" I said.

"He said it burned so clean it hardly used any oil."

I knew that. The level on the dipstick only moves down when the oil needs to be changed. However, I didn't know what a good thing that was, but now I do!

Of course it passed. Am I going to hold this over my husband the next time my great 535i is threatened with extinction? You bet I am!