Sunday, March 16, 2008

A few months ago, we replaced our elderly, troublesome Toyota Land Cruiser with a slightly less geriatric, supposedly less misery-provoking Toyota Corolla station wagon.

All I can say now is: I would rather eat a caterpillar sandwich with broken glass garnish than buy another Toyota anything.
Even if Toyota engineers suddenly designed comfortable, flattering pants that instantly made the wearer look 20 lbs thinner, I would shun them, knowing that they would malfunction in some horrible way. They’d probably fall off me in shreds the minute I went out into public and I’d be so traumatised I’d have to undergo very long, very costly therapy sessions for years afterwards, completely impoverishing my family.

That’s what the Toyota name has come to mean to me: total humiliation and a money haemorrhage to follow.

Yes, as a matter of fact, my car DID break down again.

How ever did you guess?

It was very exciting. It got stuck in third gear during Friday afternoon rush hour traffic in the middle of downtown Ouagadougou.

It was so exciting that I cannot describe how exciting it was. The part where we didn’t die was my favourite bit, of course.

I contemplated not getting it repaired – maybe just pouring gasoline over the whole thing and throwing a match on top of it? But I guess that’s pretty dangerous and a poor example for the children. Not to mention that it’s bad for the air quality.

The best solution is probably to just keep the car in the driveway as a very expensive Burkinabe-style status symbol (“Look! We own a car! ). Then I’ll buy a nice little donkey and cart.

But with my luck, I’d no doubt end up buying an unreliable used donkey. One suffering from severe ear mites and terminal cancer.


babzee said...

I'm so sorry for your Toyota experience. I bought my mom's 11 year old Toyota Camry in 2003, and have been driving it ever since, providing very minimal maintenance and abusing it quite liberally. It's now 15 years old and the love of my life. I would never drive anything else, and have recommended it to all my kids!

I have to guess your climate is more than a match for any vehicle. Good luck with whatever you throw at it...

david santos said...

The cancer is terrible!
Have a good week.

Cyndy said...

Cheer up Beth. If it means anything, we have been repairing cars for the last 6 weeks. At one point even the old 88 Buick Lasabre knick named "the Hoopty" wouldn't start. That cold/ice snap just made everything break down.

Granted, we have reliable mechanics shops to help the stress but we have spent a couple thousand since January on "car repairs".

We only own GM products as a general rule with just a few foreign models throughout the years as work cars and such. Mainly because they were difficult to fix, required a whole new set of tools and the replacement parts were outragious in cost.

My husband refused to buy a van too. No matter how much begging by the kids or how enticing the adds were, he wouldn't budge. His reasoning was that the engines were packed into a small silly space with no logic. Remember, he is a model maker. He thinks about those kinds of things.

So my kids grew up deprived of owning a van, but I do think they have overcome their childhood trauma. They haven't told us they have needed thousands of $ worth of therapy yet.

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

The donkey & cart sounds like an excellent idea. You do not need to worry about its health or training, as you already have an expert on animal care and behavior in your employ: Mallory!

Too bad Alexa isn't a gearhead.

BurkinaMom said...

Yes, David. Cancer is a terrible thing.

And Lynsey- that's GOT to be you! Princess Alexa the Gearhead. Perish the thought!

Ms SmartyPants- Thanks for the support. I always know you have my back. Or my truck, or whatever.

Actually, I think my REAL problem with the Corolla is that I HATE it even when it IS running well. The interior is all cramped, apparently designed for anorexic, hunchbacked midgets. Which we are not. I'm 5'6", my two older kids are 5'7" and JP is about 6'2". The ceiling brushes our heads and gives us all creeping claustrophobia.
I have big-time buyers' remorse.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, because out in the Tenere, Toyotas were by far the most trustworthy vehicles--far more so than the Nissan. There's even a song about it in Tamashek that our Tuareg crew loved to sing, "Toyotaaaaahh Tenere." However, it was a very specific model that was considered Tenere-worthy -- certainly not a Corolla.

Shows you right for buying a foreign car. Stick to Burkinabe models next time, why don't you!