My car is in the shop. Last Saturday, I turned it on and it made a noise like it was being cranked, garrrrahahahararrrrrrra. I opened up the hood, which is like staring at your stomach when you’ve got the stomach flu, and found only that the coolant was a little low (bastards! bastards! OK, I’m done, I’m sure it’s fine). I don’t know what I was expecting — maybe a large stick protruding from the middle, or something labeled “part that doesn’t belong” with a handle for easy removal. That would’ve been great! The feeling of victory and accomplishment that would’ve followed being able to actually fix my car — oh, that would’ve been glory. That, I think, is why I still open my hood when the car is doing something weird. There’s always the outside chance I’ll be able to fix it.
Anyway, Saturday was not that day, and now the car makes that horrid noise when it’s turned on (if it’s cold, the noise is particularly sharp) and anytime the steering wheel is turned very sharply. Basically it sounds like I’m driving a wind up car. I expect the shop to call me (no: I expect to get fed up waiting for a call at around 3:00 and call them, at which point they’ll say, as they always do, “We were just getting ready to call you…”) and say either, “We couldn’t find anything wrong, you silly girl stop meddling with machines you don’t understand and run back to your dollies, that will be $1 billion dollars for our trouble and we will smirk disdainfully at you when you come back to get the key,” or “the entire engine is broken which you should’ve noticed, because you claim this car is like your child and it has been screaming for attention, that will be $1 billion to fix, and how dare you insinuate that because we were the last people to service this car we should have noticed that the entire engine block had fallen off and been replaced with cardboard? Additional $1 billion for insolence!” So probably whatever they really say will be better than that.
I despise not having a car, and I hate my dependency on my car. Still, I am a car person. My car is perhaps my vice. I love driving and I love having a car. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where having a car isn’t the trial in frustration that it is in the city — there’s almost always parking where I want it, traffic is rarely an ordeal, and the town is basically safe (who’s going to steal a Camry, anyway?) — and pretty close to a couple of good driving lanes. There’s still nothing like a drive to get me calmed down. It’s the one trick I can usually count on for spurring inspiration or at least for getting myself to focus. Half the reason, probably, that I love going to the movie theater in Olathe is that it’s in Olathe and therefore requires a good drive — on K-10, which is at times like the prairie Autobahn — to get there.
Please, car, be OK. Cheaply.