Taking My Life Back

I recently had a situation where I had to make a choice.

I had been renting a car from my old landlord. The car has been having trouble ever since I first got it.

The low tire light has been coming on every 2 months. The first time it happened, the landlord said to take it to a mechanic and have them put air in the tires.

When I did that, about a week later, the mechanic said that I need all new tires. He showed me some cracks that were in the tires and some bald areas on the tires. He also showed me what a tire is supposed to look like. From that time on, I was nervous to drive the car.

When I told my old landlord, he said the mechanic was just saying that because I was a woman and he wanted to make a sale. My instinct was telling me to trust the mechanic but I needed a vehicle at the time. He was giving me a good deal on the rental car. I wouldn’t be able to find a rental car for the price that I was paying. So against my better judgment, I kept driving the car.

Every two months, I would just text the landlord and he would come out and put air in the tires and check the car. I was too nervous to the drive the car when I went whale watching so I would rent a car from Turo. That was even more money that I was spending.

The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back happened in November.

I went on vacation the second week of November. The week before, the tire light came on and the landlord fixed it while I was at work.

When I came back from vacation, one of the tires was completely flat. I had to take an Uber to the grocery store. The landlord was in Mexico, so he sent his associate to take the car to his mechanic in LA and fix the tire. When his associate came he found that the tag was expired. The tag had been expired for 5 months. I didn’t even know because I didn’t look at the tag. The associate was too nervous to drive it to the mechanic, so he took the tire to the mechanic. He was supposed to leave the car that he drove with me and take the car to the mechanic.

When he came back with the tire, he told me there was nothing wrong with the tire. My gut was telling me that there was something wrong. A tire just doesn’t go flat. I told my concerns to his associate but he told me that if I was pulled over by the cops they should just give me a warning. The hospital that I work at is right next to a police station.

The next day, the landlord calls me and says that the mechanic stated that someone was probably letting the air out of my tires at work. He said someone didn’t like me and that the tires were good. Again my gut was telling me that something was wrong with the tires. I only drive the car to work and the grocery store. My job is 10 minutes away and the grocery store is 5 minutes away from the house. He also said that someone stole my tag. He said that he put the new tag on in November when he last took the car to put some air in the tires. That still means that I was driving on an expired tag since the end of June.

My brother is a mechanic so I decided to get his opinion. I sent him pictures and videos of the tires. He confirmed what the first mechanic had said. There were cracks in the tires and they were about 7 years old. He said that I shouldn’t be driving on the tires.

I made a decision after that. I needed to get another rental car.

My landlord is a nice guy and I had asked him about two times if he had another rental car that I could rent. He had said no. I had asked if he would get the tires changed and he kept saying that he would but he never did.

I talked with my life coach about the situation and after that conversation it was clear that my landlord didn’t care about my feelings. He only cared that I was paying him on time. His actions were telling me that he didn’t care if I got pulled over for an expired tag or if the tires kept going flat. He allowed me to drive with an expired tag for 5 months.

I do take responsibility for the tag situation. I should have looked at the tag and let him know that it had expired. I was the one driving the car. He also had a responsibility to make sure the tag was up to date too. When the tag on my car is about to expire, I get something in the mail reminding me that the tag is about to expire.

This car situation was mirroring the situation at the hospital. In the hospital, we are reusing PPE that I was taught in nursing school was meant for one time use. Up until March, we could not use the same gown between multiple patients. We could not use the same mask more than once. Sometimes I feel like my life isn’t in my own hands anymore.

At least with the car situation, I could take my life back into my own hands. I could just rent another rental car.

I felt guilty about telling my old landlord that I wouldn’t be needing his car anymore. He was going through a lot of rough situations. I had asked for another rental car. He had also said many times before that he would replace the tires but he always came up with an excuse for not doing it. I needed to do what was best for me.

Now that I have another rental car, I can say that I feel safer in the car. I’m not afraid of the tires going flat. With a rental car company, if something goes wrong with this car, I can get a replacement car. I’m saving money because I don’t have to get another rental car when I go whale watching anymore. Yes, I am paying more money but I have peace of mind with this car. I’ve had the new rental car for 2 months and the low tire light hasn’t come on and the tires haven’t gone flat.

I am a little mad at myself for allowing this situation to go on for so long just to save money. I wasn’t even saving money because I was paying for 2 rental cars every week. The Turo car would be about $200 per month because I went whale watching every week.

Now that I look back at the situation, I have learned a lesson. Listen to myself. My gut was telling me that something was wrong with the car and I didn’t want to listen because another rental car would have been more expensive. I am committed to listening to my gut feeling. It hasn’t stirred me wrong yet. It is when I don’t listen that I get into trouble.

Have you ever had a situation where you didn’t listen to yourself?

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