Miles run today: 8
Words written in my novel so far: 29,180 (there was some slash-and-burn and rewriting)
Blog posts written since I started this blog in January: 100!
First of all, I wanted to say thank you to every one of you who has chosen to follow this blog or just stopped by once and a while. As a writer, it’s nice to think that someone out there in the world is reading some small thing I’ve written. I appreciate all of your comments and support. And happy 100th blog post, Writing by the Numbers! Yippee!
I think I’ve said it before, and so has my mental soul-mate, James Dyson: Things should work properly.
My problem, of course, is that I expect them to work properly in a forever kind of way. Whether it’s cars, can openers or human bodies, I am dismayed when things cease to function. Why, world? Why?
As my good friend pointed out the other day, you are only healthy and bouncy and fit until you aren’t.
And in a weird parallel to a car-obsessed teenage boy, my car issues distress me far more than they should.
Let’s go back, Wayne’s World-style (doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo), in time: Our minivan, a vehicle which was helping me overcome my car trust issues, began showing its age earlier this year.
First there was the tire pressure sensor, which has never worked on our minivan. Never.
Then, the check engine light came on, which actually only means that the knock sensor is broken. I alternate from being completely paranoid and sure that the car will blow up at any second to oddly detached, imagining a memorial service with a poster-sized photo of our minivan propped up beside my collection of ashes.
This spring, the door latch for the hatchback broke. No trips for us! My husband sent off for the part and fixed it.
About a month ago, my kids and I were headed out on a routine visit to the library. We walked out to the car during a slight drizzle, and I pressed the button on my key fob to open the side door. It opened obediently, and my kids hopped in.
I glanced back at my son, like ahem, please close the door. He gave me a Look.
It was the Look of Impossibility. That door was not closing. Not on its gentle runners, with the click of a button, not manually, with a gentle shove. Nope. Not happening.
And the drizzle? You guessed it. Monsoon season began. Rain was driving its way sideways into the minivan.
I rushed out, summer rain drenching me within 1.3 seconds. I pushed the door, I pulled the door, I beckoned it into its appropriate place. Uh-uh. A crack the size of the Nile allowed water to drip-drip-drip inside.
Later, when I came back outside to work on it during a more manageable deluge, I got it closed. My husband said I did it exactly the wrong way.
Trust me on this: there was no right way except closed.
So now, there is another sensor on the dashboard that screams at me: POWER DOOR.
What this really means is: NO POWER DOOR.
I started calling it a Serial Killer Vehicle. You can get in, but you can’t get out.
This might have been the point when God started laughing at me, like “Woman, you think this is bad? You really are naive.”
A few weeks later, the kids and I were packing to leave for my parents. My husband, vascillating between a “Yippee! I get time to myself!” and “Awwwww, I’m going to miss you guys” decided to detail our car as a going-away treat.
As I stood in the bathroom, packing toiletries, he came around the corner with his hands behind his back.
“OK. Don’t freak out,” he said.
I’m freaking out I’m freaking out I’m freaking out. “OK, I won’t.”
My hands were also behind my back, the fingers crossed. Raise your hand if you wouldn’t be freaking out. Hey. You there, with your hand in the air. You’re lying.
“So. I was cleaning the car, and I was being really gentle, and I wasn’t being rough or anything… and, um…” He brought his hands out from behind his back. There was a broken door handle in his hand.
“What’s that?” I asked, still comfortable in my ignorance. The little broken door handle didn’t look like such a big deal.
“It’s um… the door handle for the sliding door on the other side.”
“The what?!?! The other side?!?!? I’m freaking out I’m freaking out I’m freaking out!”
“Yeah. I was afraid of that. Now listen…” he said.
And he walked me out to the car and showed me how we’d have to open the sliding door from the inside.
As the kids and I set off on our adventure, I told them that when they were little, I worried that someone might try to open the door and jump in. But now I’m not worried. Ain’t nobody jumping in our car. Our minivan is like a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Or something like that.
As parts continue to fall off of our car, I feel nostalgic for stuff like teleportation and astral projection and stuff.
I am exactly like the Highlander (the TV version, although the movie was campy-good, too): destined to watch well-loved simple machines around me crumble and die.
As the hunky immortals with the Scottish accents once wondered onscreen: How can you risk your love on something you know you will outlive?
I’m sure I’ll get over it. I’ll move on. But not before another few car parts fall off as future fodder for my blog.
Ode to My Things
O, can opener,
O, key fob,
O, car with so many vexing moving parts,
Why can’t you be like me:
A simple machine.