Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why I need nice things - the kind that don't require maintenance.

I am horribly forgetful. I’m the kind of forgetful where I tell myself that I must do something and, a minute later, it's as if the thought had never existed. I just can’t hold on to a lot of thoughts because they tend to flit and fly and race around.

I’m really forgetful when it comes to my car - When I’m driving, I remember that I need to check the water and oil, but of course I can’t do that while I’m driving or with a hot engine so I have to wait until the engine’s cooled before I open it up to look, and by the time I’ve had it parked long enough I’ve completely forgotten and won’t remember until the next time I’m in the car (and if you’re wondering why I’m not checking it now, given I’m clearly not driving, it’s because I’ll completely forget to write this blog post if I stop now!).


My old car was old. It was 17 years old at the time and had had some damage done to the radiator in the past, so even though it was fixed it still needed an eye kept on it. I was told I had to check the water and oil at least once per week. I was supposed to be doing this anyway, as the oil had a slow leak that no mechanic in the world had yet been able to find the source of but, of course, I’m forgetful.

One week, I got sick. I had a fever. I also had a booking in a defensive driving course which I was unable to cancel or reschedule at such a late stage (being feverish, it didn’t occur to ask if they’d let me if I had a medical certificate).

So, I finally remembered to check the oil and water. I got up early, I took something for the fever, I checked my car and all was well. I drove to my driving course, a 45min drive from where I lived at the time.

I did the whole course and passed successfully. I even got a certificate to show that I did it! And this with a fever! I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Until I was driving through the city and noticed steam coming out of my engine. And then the car started rattling every time I put pressure on the accelerator, and there is no parking in the city that I could navigate to with the sick and the panic.

This was it. I was convinced that my car was dead, and it would stop in the middle of the road and it would all be my fault and I’d killed my car and I had nowhere to park so I’d just have to keep driving and driving until it stopped dead and then I’d get rear-ended by angry commuters... And I was still a half-hour drive from home and didn’t know my way around and was at serious risk of being totally lost in the city forever. I’d have to use my leftover change to buy chalk (which I actually can’t even touch because it FREAKS ME OUT) and spend the rest of my life drawing on the pavement.

I eventually found a parking spot near a train station not too far beyond where my car first started to show signs of death. Fortunately, I’d had experience with cars dying and needing to be towed in the past, and given the age of this car I made sure I had the highest level of road-side cover I could afford.

I called my insurance company, waited half an hour, got towed home. The next day, dad had a look at my car without much hope of it ever running again. He put some water in the radiator and turned the key.

And she started. As if nothing had ever happened. I could not believe it - I was thrilled. From that day forward, I vowed to never ever ever again check the water and oil in my car.

No comments:

Post a Comment