You know when you have a boyfriend who everybody hates but nobody tells you that until you break up with him?” said Amy. “That’s how we all felt about your car.”

I couldn’t quite get my mind around having a boyfriend, but understood the sentiment from movies, television and the like. And I certainly had no idea my car had engendered so much hostility amongst my friends and family. It had until recently been reliable. It had absolutely no chance of attracting thieves. That’s why I could leave it unlocked. If it caught the attention of the criminal element they were welcome to open a door and have a look around without bothering to crack a window. Besides, the front passenger door no longer responded to the key, so it was just easier.

Best of all, it had cobra stuff all over it! My old cobra head gear shift and cobra head door locks adorned the shelf by the back window, it had a fierce cobra decal on the front window (it looked as if it took a bite out of the Apple logo next to it). It had a light up cobra in the cigarette lighter. Its most recent and spectacular addition was the vanity plate: LACOBRA. LACOBRA! Can you believe that name hadn’t been snapped up long before?

“You can move ALL that crap to another car,” said Partick.

Did I mention it passed the emissions test on the first try?

But it did start to show its age. A noise from the front wheel area was diagnosed by a local mechanic as a minor brake problem. Then it was re-diagnosed as a major brake problem and the quote I was given tripled. Two days later, it stopped—just stopped! engine light went on, everything else off—a few blocks from my house. At least it was close and in a safe place, I reasoned. Fortunately, I’ve got a tiny amount of towing insurance through my phone plan. Enough to get the car home without a charge.

But what then? I didn’t know any good local mechanics and still felt burned by the scoundrels who did my brakes (and whom I could not help but blame for my current fix).

Fortunately, I live next door to Amy. This is a blessing for a lot of reasons, but in this instance it was because she introduced me to her mechanic, Vibert. Actually, I’d met Vibert a couple years back, but no matter how often she said, “my friend Vibert, the mobile mechanic whom I’ve trusted with my car for years and it runs like a dream” [she has a Camry, but removed letters on the back so it reads : AM:Y], well, it didn’t sink in. But, wow! He came over to my house while I was at work and got it running again. Great!

Then about a week later, it stopped again, just as I was crossing the first street on my way to work. Because Amy is my neighbor, she helped me push it to safety, then permitted her darling brother Mikey to work on it after she drove me to work.

I basked in my good fortune, but in retrospect am beginning to understand why my loved ones hate LACOBRA the First. Mikey got the car to run, and I ran it to Vibert’s shop.

He had a look, but couldn’t figure out why it kept blowing fuses. “It runs fine,” he said. “Come and pick it up.” My boss Lynn dropped me off and I went ‘round back to his shop. The car was jacked up on one side and the lid was up, and the engine looked wonderful! So clean! I complimented Vibert on how swell it looked and he said, “Yeah. I washed the engine, now it doesn’t start.”

Vibert’s shop is near the airport, so I sat and watched planes until he found the problem. It’s a pretty big problem, and one that he could only temporarily fix at the time. He also warned me that I seemed to developing a leak in the cooling system and keep an eye on it. Okay!

We started driving home. We were going to meet at Amy’s house so she could show off Mikey and his delightful girlfriend Isa. I was in the left lane, he was in the right lane a little behind me when engine light! The car was coasting, then it kind of started up again. I began to wave frantically to Vibert, who had caught up to me and gave a big smile and friendly wave. “No, no, no!” I shouted, and started pumping my hand in an unnatural, palm down gesture I hoped would indicate danger! “Bad wave! Bad wave!” We pulled over.

“Does the car start now?” he asked. It did. “Don’t worry about it, just go home.”

So I didn’t worry and went home and the car has started every since. It also started leaking like a sieve. And shaking. Overheating. So I took it in…
And this is where the story changes from the usual Cobra Car diatribe and into a spiritual journey.

Amy has spoken for some time about The Universe and its powers. I’ve seen her ask it for small but necessary favors, like a parking space on the jam packed streets of San Diego scant minutes before she was to run her third marathon. “Ask it for a corner space so I can back out of it,” I added. And there it was—only about two blocks away from her assigned corral. That may not sound like much unless you’ve experienced the Nightmare that is Marathon Traffic (I refuse to run them in protest). But the odds of happening upon a parking spot close to the starting line on a corner under those circumstances were vanishingly small. I’ve heard her lament that she seems to squander so much of this power asking for favorable traffic signals.

Still, I didn’t really know what she was going on about until she burned a cd for me of Mike Dooley speaking about how Thoughts Become Things (if Mike Dooley is reading this, that means “ordered me up a copy”—I’m a lousy typist). I started listening to it the day after our Movie Star Party and mostly thought, “I hate my closet doors and think drapes would look much better there instead.” I manifested that thought right away, and additionally rearranged my furniture in a much more pleasing and functional manner. I’m not saying that’s a miracle, but if it weren’t weird, I’d invite you all over to have a look.

Amy gave me more cds, and on one of them Mike Dooley says if you want a new car you should visualize driving it, putting a cd in the player, be specific about anything you want. So I gave it a try. I lay in bed as cool, evaporated air wafted over me, and pictured myself in something reliable, and sliding a cd into a slot on the dash. This was pretty sweet considering LACOBRA didn’t even have a cassette player. Then I fell asleep.

The next day I took my car in for a bit of crisis management, which was not resolved by the end of the day. My friends and family had been wonderfully helpful in getting me to and fro so far, but to make my life even easier, Vibert offered to loan me his car to drive home. He’s bought it off a client who would rather unload it than pay for the repairs it needed, so it was kind of a spare. I was happy and grateful for a vehicle to whisk myself home in (that’s where I keep my beer), and to drive to work the following morning. When I called from work, Vibert said my car would be finished in time for me to pick it up, but by the way, what did I think of the loaner?

That could be called planting the seed, though Vibert denied it. I recovered my car that afternoon, leak free but with a rattle bad enough that I drove straight to Vibert’s shop on the way home the next day and was lucky enough to catch him in. We worked finalized a deal by which he took on LACOBRA the First and released LACOBRA the Pending into my custody.

My decision was met by universal acclaim. It was little alarming, back to that hated ex-boyfriend thing. People actually beamed. Some hugged. I have no animosity toward the old car, though it has been nearly stripped of cobra items and is thus considerably less interesting. But this new one is really something. Especially since I moved the light-up cobra and the cobra license plate frame and (drum roll, please) the LACOBRA plate to the Mazda.

The experience got me thinking, though. When I bought the last car, it was precisely what I had in mind, as was the car before that one. So much of what I have is as I imagined it would be, for better or worse. So maybe…I should imagine something more?

Amy is still my guide here, though others have also come forth. I haven’t imagined a lot for my future because I feel crushed when I don’t get what I want and guilty when I do. How ‘bout I don’t feel like that any more? Well, with cars at least?

Money, no problem. Wealth and abundance, that’s my new thing. Don’t know how I’ll get it, but I visualize my checking account full to bursting. I’ve already gotten a promised tax return from the State of Arizona (why did I owe so much to them, anyway? JEEZ). And after Amy’s What Not to Wear conversion (another article), she told me, “Whenever I felt as if I had spent too much for my transformation, I’d find a penny or a nickel on the street or just around. It was like the Universe was telling me that I’d be fine with the cash flow.”

Today I found a dime.

Written by Sharon C. McGovern
From Volume 42
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