I had to go out and run a couple of errands today. One of the stops I made was at our local health food coop. I needed to stock up on my Underdog Super Energy Pills aka my probiotics. While I was there, I also picked up some tea, St. Balfour’s Organic Black Cherry tea to be precise. A cup of which I am drinking as I type this. I did some research for an up-coming post, but I will leave that for another time.
As I was driving around, I thought about the unusual places where inspiration can come from. In this case it is from my car. My car is a 20-year-old black Camry with just shy of 300,000 miles. I thought about just how much that car and I have in common.
First, a brief history. I adopted this car when I married my wonderful wife. We have since bought another Camry, a 2011, which became her car. By default, the black Camry became my car. I drive the other car as well, but someone has to drive the black car periodically so it won’t die…again.
Yes, I said again. The black Camry was dead last year. In the summer of 2012, I spent about three months in and out of the hospital with panceatitis on top of my other ailments. During that time the car just sat. Just as I was feeling better, we ended up in Massachusetts then Missouri then Massachusetts again. We ended up being gone for over four months. The car just sat. When we finally made it home, the car was dead.
The car sat for a few more weeks while we contemplated its fate. The case was made to simply sell it for scrap and buy another car, but I decided to make an attempt to revive it. After replacing the battery, inflating the tires, and giving it an oil change, the car shuddered back to life. It was not going to be making any cross-country trips, but for motoring around this little beach town, it was fine.
One of the main arguments in favor of scrapping the car was the fact that almost everything on the car is broken. I am not exaggerating. All of the knobs on the dash are broken. Two of the door handles have broken off. The antenna is stuck in the down position so the radio only picks up three stations…sometimes. The door locks are broken except for one which only half-works. The trunk can only be opened from inside the car. The side view mirror on the passenger side is simply missing (it disappeared while I was driving down the highway a few years ago). The hood has to be braced in order to stay up. The windshield washer fluid basin leaks like a sieve. The air conditioner doesn’t work. The trunk leaks. Oh, and the “Check Engine” light is on (It’s nothing, don’t worry about it). If that wasn’t enough, I was told that the transmission needed to be replaced…four years ago.
An argument could be made that the car has done its duty for God and country, and now it is time for it to simply retire to the scrapheap. The same argument could be made about me as well, I suppose, but just as I am not willing to give up on me, I am not willing to give up on that car. For the past year, when I go out and turn the key in the ignition, the car starts up with nary a complaint. It never hesitates or cranks without turning over. I turn the key and it starts. If it is willing to report for duty, who am I to question it.
The other day was a big day for it. I drove it into Orlando. This meant taking the car on the highway. It had not been driven above 45 mph or farther than about 15 miles in over two years. It took to the highway like it was a car half its age. I realize I am anthropomorphizing, but I got the feeling that the car was enjoying itself. I won’t take it on that trip again unless I have to, but it is nice to know that it can make it should the need arise.
It isn’t often that something you own can be a metaphor for your life, but this car certainly seems like it could be for me. We both have numerous things wrong, and we both keep starting when the key is turned. Care and proper maintenance still have to be given to both of us, but neither of us is ready to give up and retire from life. Inspiration can come from strange places, and for now, at least, my inspiration comes from a beat up old car that steps up whenever I ask.