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Donating is a new way of life

October 03, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

My family has always made car purchase decisions on the side of a highway - as a member of our fleet smokes, leaks or burns.

This was different, but not much.

My car for the last three years was getting me back and forth to work. But it was chugging and gasping, possibly stricken with rolling pneumonia.

The small things that had been breaking down - quirks I've brushed off as "character" in my jalopies - were no longer charming.

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It was time to apply the brakes to this arrangement. Fortunately, the brakes worked.

I called a large national charity that focuses on one of the human body's major organs. I offered my car. The charity accepted.

With an inordinate amount of trust, I signed away possession of my car and mailed the title.

The charity promised that a tow company would call me no more than five days after my paperwork arrived.

Fifteen days came and went, so I called for an update. I was told the tow company had my information.

A week after I left a message for the tow company, I got a message back: No cars older than 1994, please.

(Ten years is considered old? My family has unredeemed gift certificates older than that.)

To the charity's credit, after listening to my grumble and threat to cancel, I got a call in about an hour. A second tow company was promising to quickly step in where the first tow company left off.

I've never been attached to my cars like some people are - my cars don't get names - so this feels like minor outpatient surgery.

The removal was scheduled to be Friday (two days ago), so, if all went well, as you read this, I am jalopyless. It's an odd feeling.

Instead, I have a brand new car and brand new worries: locking car doors, attending to every stray bird splatter, looking for isolated parking spots to avoid dings and dingbats.

It's a new way of life and I haven't decided if it's a better one.

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