If my completely dysfunctional relationship with my car is any indication (which I think it is) I’m going to be an absolutely terrible parent. Seriously, we’re talking unfit here.
I’m even giving myself a little leeway because my car, at a whooping 13 years of age, is an adolescent. But even granting this allowance, things aren’t looking good for me and my ability to not abandon things in a parking lot because they are behaving badly and annoying the bejesus out of me.
My car ownership style, for one, is not a shining endorsement of responsibility and natural care-taking abilities. It is characterized by long periods of laziness and ignorance followed by short bursts of irrational anger when things go wrong. Apparently I’m not one for positive reinforcement as I never remember to give my car nice, timely oil changes or other pleasures when it’s on its best behavior. Rather, I take the old girl for granted until she acts up in terribly inconvenient and extravagant ways to grab my attention.
At times like this I’m quick to forget the good times and all the positive experiences I’ve shared with the old girl. Instead I immediately think of her as an attention-craving, inconsiderate, little brat.Today was one of those days. After a fit of misbehavior which calmer, more rational folks would have characterized as a minor incident, I, on the other hand, very seriously considered abandoning the old girl in a hardware store parking lot in the hopes that someone, anyone would take her off my hands.
Thankfully a well-timed call to my father stopped this sad scenario from going forward. After talking me down from my abandonment fantasies, my father assured me that I could very easily handle this matter if I approached it rationally and not like a completely helpless lunatic. (Don’t worry my father is quite nice and didn’t actually call me a helpless lunatic).
However, after mere minutes this endeavor proved fruitless, thanks to my lackluster camera phone abilities and my inability to describe the situation accurately. (Thank God I get paid to be a reporter, huh?) Apparently my father had underestimated my ability to be hopeless.
Standing in that parking with my car hood open and my head completely devoid of any useful car knowledge, I’m sure my expression was that of pure exasperation, with myself, with my charge, with my situation. I’m sure I resembled that mother I always feel sorry for in the grocery store who is surrounded by screaming, running children who are always invariably covered in chocolate. At that moment I could relate. I too was out of options.
I threw up my hands in helplessness. Meanwhile my car just sat there being useless,which is exactly what it would do until I figured out some way to whip it back into shape.
I considered physical violence against it but aside from kicking the tires there wasn’t much I could do to it that wouldn’t seriously hurt me or my checkbook. Verbal abuse was my next course of action but I quickly realized I would look insane cursing out a badly-behaved Camry in the middle of a parking lot.
So other options had to be considered. I had to approach this differently, maybe acutally stop and think for a minute about what more experienced, practiced car owners had done in similar situations. So in the absence of all my standby options, I took a different route and tried logic.
And with a teeny, tiny bit of advice from good ole’ Dad, my adolescent troublemaker and I were back on the road and it was smooth sailing, err…driving from there.