I’m Good At Car

During the darkest days of my Dad’s illness (bi-polar), he was essentially incapacitated. Most of his normal tasks and responsibilities fell to the wayside. My Mom picked up all the slack she could but was completely overwhelmed. One of the things that my Dad stopped doing was taking care of our family’s cars. Most irreparable were the effects of not getting regular oil changes. It got so bad that black smoke would billow from the tail pipe and engine whenever our minivan idled for more than 2 seconds, like when my Dad would pick me up from school for example. I did my usual cover-embarrassment-with-humor routine but it was always very mortifying. My friends would ask why we didn’t get the van fixed and I didn’t know what to tell them. Part of it was financial, with my Dad on medical leave from the church and my Mom working her ass off in her PhD program, money was beyond tight. But there was also the fact that during that time in my family things like oil changes and leaf-raking weren’t severe enough to get any attention, especially in the face of obstacles like hallucinations and paranoia.

The two most significant results of all this car shiznit are 1) I refuse to ever, EVER own a minivan and 2) I always get oil changes and regular maintenance on my cars. As my last car got older, however, I realized I’d been so worried about taking care of its innards that I’d ignored its outtards (?) It wasn’t in horrendous shape but I wished I’d been more diligent about car washes, occassional waxing, and taking extra precaution to avoid “tapping” other cars in parking lots – the glaring result of my terrible depth perception. When I got the Goose, I made a silent vow to keep her clean and detailed. Don’t misunderstand though because in truth her insides currently look like the Wreck of the Hesperus – but at least I’m trying.

The Goose was runnin’ on E so when I popped out to get a grilled chicken sammie from Wendy’s at lunch, I filled ‘er up and got a car wash. As I rolled toward the nondescript building awash in a misty cloud, I suddenly remembered it’s one of those car washes where you have to aim your wheel and drive onto that rail and then put your car in neutral and lurch forward one whiplashing inch at a time. I can barely park my vehicle without grossly misjudging whether I’m inside or outside the lines MUCH LESS see my way clear to ease a rubber tube onto a clunky conveyer belt. If my state of residency trusts me enough to grant me legal permission to operate a 2-ton heap o’ metal at speeds exceeding 60 miles-per-hour then I think I can handle coasting through a giant shower on my own. Just sayin’.


3 Responses to “I’m Good At Car”

  1. Kriss Says:

    I avoid those carwashes like the plague! I’m thrilled to get my stupid SUV to line up in the lines in parking lots . . . fuggedabout trying to line up my front tire with that stupid brace thing.

    Do you have PDQ car washes? If it weren’t for their full-service washes, my vehicle would never get clean.

  2. jessie Says:

    I also take care of my car. I had it washed regularly. Have it check and tuned-up. I see to it that all its parts like gmc clutch kits are checked to ensure that it is working well and if there is a need to replace or repair. Its really good to drive a clean and damage free car. 😉

  3. Amelia Says:

    FWIW, my dad is bipolar as well. (And so am I, but happily medicated.) My dad wasn’t ever as bad as your dad, but, you know, to some degree, I get it.

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