I don’t hate my VW Passat (love the sound system, the shiny black color) but I’m starting to grow truly weary of the constant problems. It won’t stop costing me more and more money for repairs (labor, parts).

The latest migraine is a leak in the heater core, which warms up the car interior. This mechanism circulates and heats up the coolant inside the round plastic reservoir container and thereby creates warm air, but the coolant has been leaking out and forcing me to re-fill it every 10 to 14 days.

I could let this situation passively ride along by simply replacing the coolant every couple of weeks, but if I want to seriously fix the problem it’ll set me back a minimum of $1800 and possibly a bit more.

Early this morning my local mechanic (Georgetown Shell) told me I need to replace the leaking heater core plus a gasket that goes with it. Cost: $315.

Soon after the official VW Danbury mechanic rep estimated that removing the leaker and installing the brand new heater core will take five hours at $289.00 per hour = $1445.00 + $315 + tax and whatnot for a total of roughly $1775.00. And what if it takes a bit longer?

I can’t drop almost $2K so I’m going to have to hire Vinnie, the mellow Bridgeport freelancer, to do the installing. Vinnie is my idea of a good hombre with reasonably good skills, but he hasn’t delivered like those VW Danbury guys, or at least he hasn’t so far. But I like and respect him.

I also bought some KSeal, some gloop that you pour into the circulatory system that finds leaks and seals them. With the engine purring I poured it into the plastic reservoir and said a little prayer.

Plus it was really cold and extra windy today, and along with a general sense of uncertainty and anxiety I was feeling slightly more downhearted than usual.

As I was entering a Danbury Auto Zone store around 11:30 am I was flinching and slightly wincing and shuddering and glancing at my reflection in the store window and muttering stuff like “I’m in hell…my life is hell to some extent…it didn’t feel anywhere near this oppressive during the the 2006-to-2018 heyday….it really felt kinda wonderful during that 12-year run.”

I don’t mean actual hell. I mean that every so often my life feels like brimstone and treacle. I truly love my movie-driven life and the rigors of writing the column each and every day, but the idea of sitting through Dune: Part Two this evening fills me with absolute dread.

I don’t care what everyone else has been saying. Denis Villeneuve and I have never really gotten along. If it turns out to be better or even much better than expected, great. But my gut tells me it almost certainly won’t be.

I would love to live a nice, car-free life in Paris, and just take the Metro around town and do a lot of walking. A free man in Paris, unfettered and alive.