I drive a Geo Tracker, a car that resembles a squished Jeep or a Hot Wheel magically enlarged. Men–mostly named Kyle and Matt–tuck handwritten notes under the windshield wipers asking if I want to sell. I do not want to sell. Why would I? This car reaches blistering speeds of 95 miles per hour.

She ran great until she didn’t. The engine began shrieking to life when temperatures dropped below 50 degrees. I had to crawl over the passenger seat every time I drove because the driver’s side lock broke in an ice storm. A rain leak molded the carpet so severely I’m convinced new antibiotics could have been discovered. I cut out the carpet with a utility knife and decided the bare metal floor looked cool and industrial, or something. The final straw came when a coolant leak spewed onto the engine and evaporated into hot, sweet-smelling white clouds. The failure coincided with a pricey medical bill, temporarily beaching my car on the street. 

That’s when a neighborhood busybody first reported my car abandoned. In Seattle, any car that has not been moved for 72 hours can be reported and ordered to move to another block. Then the parking cops come, they chalk the tire, and they slap a red label on the windshield. It’s more than annoying. 

Despite fixing my car, the reports are still happening. My tires are lousy with yellow cop chalk. I think it’s because a neighbor just hates the look of my car, or maybe they think I’m parked in what should be their spot on the street. 

I don’t drive daily, and if I do, I try for a spot in front of my place like everyone else on this block–and yet I don’t see chalk on their tires. I even informed the last officer I caught slapping a sticky red label on my windshield that the car did in fact have an owner–me. The officer said he had no choice but to answer the complaints, allowing for this weird campaign to continue. My ugly, sweet ride is not long for this world. Whoever you are, can you let her die in peace?

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