Tempo looks like junk, but may outlast us all

Kristine Gill

I’m usually running late for things, but I usually get where I’m going on time. Exceptions to this rule include early morning Spanish classes, classes taught in another language before 10 a.m. and those instructional courses in a second idioma that take place before the real world has even hit snooze. But usually, I’m on time.

However, I’ve learned that’s not the case when I’m relying on other methods of transportation. I can choose when to leave to walk from my apartment. Even if I leave 10 minutes later than I should have, I can usually find it in my little feet to power-walk at a higher rate, and when I’m biking I can pump my legs a bit faster.

But no amount of willpower can make the bus come or wait until I’m ready for it. I’ve missed as many buses as I’ve caught and gone to class without mascara on many mornings. It’s awful to the tenth degree.

But something wonderful recently happened. My little sister decided to transfer to Kent State, and she brought with her the deity of transportation, the method preferred by 100 percent of rational human beings incapable of catching buses and opposed to frizzy hair caused by bike riding. She brought a car.

But not just any car! She brought with her a white, four-door, 1993 Ford Tempo complete with power locks and windows, a cassette player, burgundy interior, an obscene amount of obscene bumper stickers, two burnt out headlights and recycled gum on the dashboard. And as a freshman with little need for a car on campus, she grudgingly entrusted her beloved Tempo to me. Me! I quickly denied all assertions that I had at one time disliked the rusting, rotting, clicky, heap of impending doom, but secretly loathed its appearance.

You would, too! The heat doesn’t work, the floorboards are rotting, the windshield is cracked and the doors don’t lock. You’ve probably seen me driving around campus, or heard me revving up a hill or waiting at a stop light. Yes, waiting at a stop light. The car makes more noise when it’s motionless than it does while moving. It is my belief that several stray cats are churning in the engine, which results in the clicking and hissing you hear when I drive by, around or within fifteen miles of where you are.

It only took a few times for me to realize Tempo, as we affectionately named him, has an attitude. When I try getting out of the car after making a nasty quip about the speedometer needle that reads zero while I’m accelerating or the lack of heat, Tempo refuses to let me out. I’ll open the door and get tangled in the automatic seat belt that’s supposed to make getting out of a car even easier. Automatic seat belts are one of those inventions that come along and make you wonder what you did before when you had to MANUALLY remove your OWN seat belt. Ridiculous. Tempo takes advantage of this feature, refusing to move the belts after I’ve called him a name or pounded the dashboard in frustration.

Once while I was driving, I jokingly insulted him, and when I went to reverse in a parking lot, found the engine had shut off and the car had stopped moving. Tempo growled his bitter laugh in mockery as the engine roared to life again.

The thing about Tempo is he has more personality than any new car I’ll ever own. He’s more reliable and hardy than any bike or bus I’ve ever used, and I don’t get as many blisters driving him as I do walking. Sure, he’s had repairs, and maybe he isn’t as pretty as he used to be, but my family firmly believes Tempo will be the sole survivor after December 21, 2012. In that case, I’ll be happy to be behind the wheel.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].