My car has potentially reached the end of its life or is, at least, concerningly ill. It is a Sunday, I am away from home and I have on board an enormous amount of baggage – mainly art materials with a few clothes – which has now been unloaded into the garage of a very kind friend so I am free to leave my vehicle with the unfamiliar (and, hopefully, not-too-busy) mechanics tomorrow morning. Goodness knows how many days I may be stranded. I won’t know until I get the report.
It makes me realise that I am totally dependent on my independence. Interesting juxtaposition. And my car is integral to that. I am used to having it double as a convenient shipping container or a comfortable waiting room. While not strictly being a restaurant, it has certainly acted as a BYO dining hall. I have changed my clothes, slept, written, hidden and sung in my car, not to mention travelled with it for hundreds of thousands of kilometres.
I need to admit that my car is, in essence, my security blanket. It is also the means to live the life that works for me at this time. Along with my mobile phone, which provides the absolutely vital link to home, my car is a lifeline.
And now, for a day, or several, or longer, I may be without it. I try to negotiate in my head how that will work, how long my reliance on other people will last, what the procedure should be if the car is, really, past its use-by date. Getting home becomes, strangely and suddenly, more of a priority than it was before.
So, it is not just a car. It is an on-ramp to a whole world. It is the avenue to almost every one of my opportunities. It is the route to nearly all my experiences. It is probably unwise to be in a complex and tangled relationship with an expensive machine, particularly when that other party is unreliable. In all great love stories, however, there is give and take. I just hope that tomorrow doesn’t bring too much take.