Alison Berkley: Costly speed bump on the road of life |

Alison Berkley: Costly speed bump on the road of life

I had to give up my baby last weekend.

My beloved car was taken away from me like a child from an unfit mother. Those heartless bastards at the dealership with their bad suits and greasy hair took my 2000 VW New Turbo Beetle and left me empty handed with nothing more than the promise of one last hefty bill.

The lease had “matured” as the crooks at VW put it. In simpler terms, they took all my money and the car, too.

So what if I couldn’t come up with a small fortune for the residual to purchase the car because I blew up two engines and had no money left? It is hardly my fault they built those things too low to the ground. German engineering my butt.

Believe you me, that car didn’t just look like an egg. Heaven forbid you drive over a tiny bump in the road – the shell cracks and oil comes spilling out of it like a runny yolk. So I ran over a few pebbles and punctured the oil pan and the engine seized up!

If the damn thing is so fragile, they shouldn’t have put a turbo engine in it. I am not exaggerating when I say that you put one toe on the accelerator and that thing took off like a runaway teen. Everyone knows if there’s one thing a teenager needs, it’s protection.

I’ll admit the first engine I toasted was kind of my fault. I probably should not have been going 50 mph in a residential area, but I was on my way to an important party for a cute boy who was moving to Salt Lake City to become a firefighter.

I wanted to make sure my mascara was perfect and admit I wasn’t really paying attention. That speed bump just popped up out of nowhere and I hit it full speed, like the Dukes of Hazard used to do in the General Lee. (God knows I loved Bo and Luke Duke back in the day, and this stunt would have made the proud.)

I’m pretty sure I caught some serious air because all four tires hit the road with a thud. The car seemed to run perfectly well after I landed, so I just drove away. I wasn’t about to let a little bump in the road come between me and my fireman.

My insurance company forked over $9,000 for a new engine. I know it sounds expensive, but it had to be shipped over from Germany right off the production line because the car was so new that they didn’t have engines just lying around. The service department at Volkswagen was so impressed with the damages they called me “Crash” from then on.

It took forever for the-little-engine-that-could to arrive. Fortunately, my insurance company paid for a rental car. They also paid for damages after the garage door closed on it. That cheap piece of you-know-what crumpled just like a tin can. Clearly, that little car just wasn’t well made and that’s all there is to it.

I thought my insurance company and I had developed a good working relationship by then, but noooooo. When the second engine seized up, they totally abandoned me. The claims inspector called it “mechanical failure” while the Nazis over at VW said it was “collision damage.” Whatever!

I don’t even know how the oil leaked out in the first place. I made the mistake of being honest and told the insurance guy it was nothing like the speed bump incident. Some little pebble must have flown up and punctured the oil pan without my knowledge. Rather than waste our time, I told him all he had to do was cut me a check as usual – same name, same address.

Those cheap jerks actually made me pay for it. That on top of three years of lease payments, the down payment, the return fee payment, and all those late fees just because I forgot to send my check in on time. All told, I think I spent around $20K on a stupid car that I didn’t even get to keep.

Of course I called my lawyer, but he said, “It sounds like you got struck by lightening twice,” and that was that. Yeah, well fuck you very much, Esquire.

Of course this is all my parents’ fault. My dad taught me how to drive in a Porsche. He showed me how to “throw it into third and gun it around the next corner” and how to do “rolling stops in second gear.” He exposed me to the manly, fresh smell of leather interior and the purring sound a good engine makes. He turned me on to the sexiness of cars.

Apparently I’m not the only one who’s been seduced. Getting a Hummer seems to have taken on a whole new meaning these days, and God knows it’s more costly than ever. If you want to join the war effort, enlist in the military for God’s sake – they will provide the tanks for you.

Those things have got to be a total hazard, good for nothing but running over innocent children and tourists. I’m sure there are plenty of people in Aspen who can also explain why they need their Range Rovers and their Audi A6 wagons and their BMW SUVs to zip around in a town where everything is within walking distance, where buses can take you wherever you need to go, and where the airport is right down the street.

I bought a 1988 Jeep Cherokee for just over 2,000 bucks. That’s all the money I had left in my trust fund after the stock market crash. Even though it doesn’t look as good on me as my cute little Beetle, it gets me everywhere I need to go. At that price, the only place it won’t drive me is crazy.

[The Princess is full of it and would give anything for an Audi TT. E-mail your condolences to]

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