Friday, October 29, 2010

away from the lens

Sitting up here in the tree house, I like to watch the mean squirrels skitter about and the occasional cardinal or blue jay perch briefly outside my window, the yellow leaves a nice frame for the bay. I love this season but dread the onslaught for which it is the prelude. On the bike to New Glarus I could smell death. It is the dry, brittle smell of winter and I am torn between breathing it in, welcoming and accepting it, and wishing I was a Jewish octogenarian snow bird making my way to Florida in my Winnebago.

I wrote a poem about winter back when I was in high school, over 10 years ago. I wish I had kept better track of it, but I am terrible about saving such things for posterity. They were so private and too embarrassing so it would be better if those creations were to evaporate into the ether, leaving no trace.

My ability to hang on has improved since then.

Monday, October 4, 2010

steed of another sort

I have had three cars in my life.

To have fifteen years of car-driving experience under my belt, that seems like a lot. But why is it that having more lovers than cars is more desirable as age 30 looms? Aren't both situations somewhat of a "money suck?" I can't complain about my car-life, but I will. Everyone does.

The hunks of metal of my past have been memorable, even lovable and I think back fondly to those times that we had together. The car with which I learned the art of driving and struggled with as a teenager, was already in the twilight of its life with 250 thousand miles and a front end that threatened to fall out on the interstate. Isn't that the story for almost every Honda Accord of the late 80s? The cigarette burns in the backseat were endearing, as were the stories of forgotten cheese burgers from my elementary school years. My parents ordered it in 1986 and it traveled to the US on a boat, one of the last, truely Japanese Hondas. But a love like that won't last forever. So we parted ways, and I knew that it would always occupy a special place in my heart, despite our diverging paths. My life was taking off, but the Honda, the Ghettosled, would have to stay back in the hills of Tennessee.

My second car was lovingly referred to as the 'fart cart'. The odor, our odors, and its lemon-like ability to destroy the day combined to make this nickname increasingly more appropriate over the years. The pee-green (yes pee, the overly asparagus, vitamin-laden type), baby-poop yellow, officially champagne Altima was lacking in the mileage department but not lacking in freak-style mechanical errors. And luck. I was rear-ended 3 times in one week in various locations within the DC metropolis. When my parents took it off our hands for $1, I shed narry a tear. It was nice to see it go. It was not to be trusted. That may explain why they turned around and sold it for cash without telling me. I did Mom a favor and removed the HRC sticker, but the CoExist sticker remained and I think it stayed there, along with the power T and the black, stock mirror. How did that mirror thing happen again?

Now my Subaru... my current car, my third car, what I wanted to be my last car is making its mortality known and well-apparent. I never thought that I would have to have a contingency plan. I always thought that it would live forever. The run has been good, Subie. At 163k it has to have its first major, devastating repair (devasting primarily for my wallet). The clutch finally wore out. Now, that is impressive. What is depressive is that the gasket head must be replaced and this defect is common in all Subarus; Subaru owners brag about their wagons with 300k miles, how they would survive the nuclear holocaust ... but just like everything else, they wear out. They are not immune to this world, if anything they are more susceptible to its elements than we are. I have driven it into the ground, so to speak. Is that any way to treat someone so important?

Given the prognosis, I panicked. My first reaction was extreme hopelessness. When my car wouldn't move, I cried and dropped a few f-bombs and thought that beating the living hell out of it would help. I became angry and I refused to forgive the car and Googled all of its downfalls and decided that it was good for nothing, good for scrap and that my state of poverty would leave me carless, would complicate my life. This car isn't even mine. I didn't buy this car and yet, it means too much. I am stuck with it and when I cough up the money, albeit plastic money, tomorrow, I will probably cry and fall into a state of agitation, stare into space and grieve.

But I'm ready for the future now and know that if I truly love it, then I must be prepared to let it go.