[Note to reader: I wrote about my car in the post below during a semi state of exasperation and resignation last Thursday. But just so you know, all’s well again now (sort of)!]
Vehicle log: Thursday 4 February 2021.
Right now, I can’t tell you what it feels like when you have it.
But, I can tell you what it feels like when you don’t have it!
It’s like walking away from an auto workshop in a pair of heavy clunky boots, as you realise that it might take a couple of days or more before you can get your car problem sorted out.
And as you walk, you feel your world shrinking and that old familiar feeling of dread returning. The one you had less than a year ago when you and your youngest had that near brush with death on the highway.
Or that time in September 2019 when a van hit the side of your car. Hard!
Now, as I stand in front of the spanking car show room (a facade for the grimy workshop I just came from), waiting for my Grab driver to ferry a despondent old me home, it hit me. Hard!
What if my car’s not even gonna be ready in time for the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations a week from now? To take us to places we need to visit.*
[*Within my country’s prescribed Covid social distancing limits of course!]
“Who’s gonna drive you home tonight?”
(Easy. My Grab driver that’s who. He just pulled up so, for tonight at least, things look ok)
I can no longer brush aside the thought that nothing’s going to go wrong with my car no more. All that’s happened with it since 2019 should tip off even the most clueless driver that there’s some life lesson to be learnt here!
But that’s fodder for another day’s blog post.
Right now, I just know that starting tomorrow, my life will be lived once again like one crappy movie scene after another, all appearing in slow-mo. Kind of like when you’re caught in a massive traffic jam; every vehicle dead-crawling to eternity.
For a start, the usual long commute to my son’s school is gonna be even longer this time without our car. We’ll have to wake up much earlier to catch the bus, and that won’t go down well with you-know-who!
And when that’s over and I’ve finally dropped him off at the school gate, I’ll have to start thinking how to get home.
Later, I’ll have to figure out how to fetch him home for lunch (bus or Grab or train or…).
By the time I get him home, it’ll be more like ‘tunch’ (tea+lunch, geddit?)!
That’s how it was all those months ago.
Talk about deja vu!
It’s all about control
Yep, I firmly believe that’s what it is really all about that at the end of the day.
We all need to feel like we’re still holding the steering wheel; that we’re still in charge and in control.
But when car trouble comes a-calling, you realise quite quickly we’re not, in fact, in control.
In life’s long and winding road, we’re at the constant mercy of uncertainty. The car’s really the one steering the wheel, and I’m the hapless backseat passenger, strapped tight and powerless to decide which way to turn. Which way to go.
Something as seemingly pedestrian as car repair could send my whole schedule topsy-turvy, and reduce my world of control into a Mad Max Fury Road reboot!
Now, please don’t misunderstand.
It’s not that my family can’t live without our own personal vehicle. Living in a small country with advanced, world renown road and rail networks, it’s not that tough to get by day-to-day purely on public transportation.
The issue here is how the years of convenience I’ve gotten used to with a car, has made me ‘soft’. It’s made me take things for granted and become, ironically, less adaptable and flexible when I hit a speed bump.
And that’s what I’m realising about myself. I’ve abdicated control of my life to a machine!
Doubly ironic, considering I never got my driver’s licence til I turned 34! Meaning that, up to this point, more of my life was spent getting by without rather than with a set of wheels.
So how do I now regain control, if this series of car incidents I’ve had with this piece of metal can leave me so helpless?
Ditch the car? But it’s barely five years old.
Sell it? In all good conscience, given its history?
I think I’ll just continue writing about what it’s teaching me about myself.
About control. Or the lack of.
Like a personal companion that’s also a live-in (though not necessarily a living) metaphor.
A material possession to be daily deciphered and deconstructed.
Hmmm…have I just found myself a reason (or an excuse) to stay a “slave to the drive”?