So it was on a mild Friday morning last week when I started my car and tried to back out of the parking spot in an Old Town lot. The moment I realized my car was not moving despite being in reverse I knew it was the end. I tried to tell myself that it was something minor, and my mechanic would call with news to confirm my optimism. As my car was towed to the auto shop, I started the process of planning for all contingencies. The rest of day was spent holding out hope for good news. At 4 p.m. that fateful Friday I was given the news that my car’s transmission was busted. I had no idea that my car was about to stop running. I had not detected any signs that I was so close to a catastrophic failure. The moment was so subdued with a simple start of the car, and no movement when I put her in gear. When the mechanic quoted me several price options, I sank to the realization that repairing my car was so far out of any budget I could scheme up. My time with my car was at an end.
I quickly recalled a blog post by my fellow Blogger Richard Marks over at Samoa Softball about many of us who do not have a pot to piss in. Just like in his brief post, I have hit a catastrophe in my life. I am confident that I will have another car very soon, but the pleasures of my life will have to be compromised in order to feed another bank a bushel of car loan payments. I guess spending my money at local businesses will have to be sacrificed in order to feed the 1%. What a drag…
On another plane of thought… as soon as I handed the pink slip over to the mechanic in exchange for my outstanding labor bill, it was also the end of another connection. Back in the spring of 2006, I had relocated to Riverside, CA. I have used many blog entries to document and dissect that experiment in my life. In the middle of starting a new relationship, integrating into a new community, and finding a new job another transmission was getting ready to call it a life. My then vehicle was a red Chevy S-10 pick-up truck. I loved that truck. It was not going to be a fun truck to drive in Riverside in the Summer for it had no air conditioning. I had driven it to over 200,000 miles, and never once tried to be consistent with the routine maintenance. I over looked the transmission, and at 213, 000 miles, the grinding and gnawing of gears at least gave me the heads up that bad days were ahead.
By the time I had to dump my truck, I was in very poor shape financially. I was barely making enough money to keep up on my share of the living costs with my then live-in girlfriend. The jobs I got down there were paying much less than I make up here, and how weird is that? Anyway, I found a local Chevy dealer who took pity on me, and my truck of my hands in exchange for no money down. I drove off in a 2003 Ford Taurus with 33,000 miles, and air conditioning. I bought that car in May of 2006, and three months later I would have that car packed with my belongings as I headed back to Humboldt County.
When I moved back up here I had to re-integrate into my old job, and rekindle old ties to the North Coast. I also had to purge myself of the Southern California experience. I had to wait nearly two years to be rid of the cell phone contract I had to take down there because the carrier I have up here was not available there. It took some time, but eventually I was able to let go of most of the material things that I felt connected me to those five months of my life I spent in Riverside. Of course there will music, movies, and memories that will always be with me, but the physical items have been passed along or simply discarded. I guess that is as close as I can come to pretending that episode of my life did not happen.
As I cleaned all of my belongings out of the Taurus it occurred to me that the biggest piece of my Riverside connection was about to pass on. It is not what I planned to have happen, and especially not like this, but now I will be completely severed from material reminders of that part of my life. Perhaps any healing I still need will happen now as I drive another vehicle.
A vehicle bought locally under the same circumstances which put me in the Taurus five years ago.