Friday, August 07, 2015

Broke down and anxious

On one hand, I really hate how reliant we are on automobiles in America. On several other hands, I'm thrilled to be an American. That one hand is problematic, though. If you don't have transportation on demand in America, you're kind of screwed. That happens to be my current status; without a vehicle and screwed.

A brief history of recent events:

  • A couple months ago, my starter broke and was replaced by my friends Spike and Steve.
  • Spike and Steve did something wrong because two weeks ago, the starter failed due to what was diagnosed as a short in the wiring. 
  • That problem was fixed at that time by a mechanic in Clearwater, where I broke down, basically as far away from home as I ever go.
  • No it wasn't, because yesterday (Thursday, August 6), it wouldn't start again.
Nothing makes me uneasier than needing auto repair. Partially, because I suck at cars. When I have a problem and somebody asks me what's wrong, the only explanation I can offer with confidence is, "When I jump in, I can't make the wheels go around and go places." I know there's gas and electricity and oil involved, with sparks and belts and pulleys and pistons and combustion. I think an alternator performs some kind of alternating function. Beyond that, if you were to tell me that you just pour all that stuff into the space under the hood, mix it all up and wave a gris-gris over it, I'd have no choice but to believe you. 
Okay, Papa Legba, I need to drop off my dry cleaning.

The anxiety that not having a vehicle brings on attacks me on a number of levels:
  • How much is it going to cost?
  • How long is it going to take to be fixed?
  • How am I going to get around and do what I need to do?
  • What if they find something else wrong?
  • How much is it going to cost?
  • Oh God, am I going to have to ask people for help?? (If there's anything I'm worse at than cars, it's this)
  • How much is it going to cost?
I arranged last night for a tow truck to pick it up and take it to a shop less than a mile from my house. That cost $84. When I got there, a lady listened patiently and attentively as I offered a more detailed version of the brief history above. When I finished, she just wrote "Won't start" on the service order. Steve gave me a ride down to work, where I arrived two hours before I was due in. That's when I learned that breakfast at the hotel next door is $20, "but that includes eggs any way you like!". That's when I learned I would be skipping breakfast today. 
Anyway, as of this writing I'm at work with no idea how and when I'm going to get home or to the repair place and freaking out a little bit more with each passing minute. 

Let me tell you, NOTHING makes you appreciate freedom like not having your own car. Well, that and being some kind of a prisoner or slave, I guess.

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