Thursday, February 11, 2016
I got a call from high-school-senior daughter this morning. Our 1994 Toyota Camry with 260,000 miles on it - the one that she drives because we are people who think it is enough that she has any car to drive at all- was making bad noises. She managed to make an appointment with the local garage for after school to check out the noise. The gents of the local garage are, as per me, a bit of a shifty bunch. I told her to have them call me before any repairs got authorized.
Fast forward to 3 PM. The young mechanic to whom she handed her iPhone said "it's a spring and a strut." I pitched him a softball: "Don't you have do both sides?" He said (are you sitting down?) "No."
I'm not sure that's right but did I mention 260,000 miles? He told me it was going to be about $300. I said, "fine."
My daughter then had a friend come fetch her at the garage. The two of them were returning here just as I was pulling into the garage in the State of Vermont fleet vehicle that I have this evening (more on that in a minute).
She and I began discussing the transportation dilemmas that will be caused by not having Ye Ancient Camry tomorrow. This being Vermont, my kids' whole school skis on Friday (tomorrow). No Camry means trouble to-ing and fro-ing for both my kids. I have to leave at 6 AM tomorrow in the aforementioned fleet car to get to a court hearing two and half hours from home . Turns out, however, that we might not actually have a problem.
"The guy said he would come in at six tomorrow morning and get my car fixed in time for Friday program," my daughter said as we made our way up to our kitchen. "It pays to get up and put on make up every day," she added.
Right. Never having been pretty myself I never learned how it can pay. (Not bragging or anything but that's her up there. A colleague, seeing this picture on my desk once said, "no offense but she obviously hit the genetic jack pot." Yes. That's true).
But I'm not here to totally disparage myself. Why? Let me tell you a heartwarming little story.
I had to leave my own car in the vast Siberian parking lot at the state office campus just now in order to pick up the fleet car. I was resentful for a bit, thinking that my poor little car was going to have to suffer the winds and subzero temperatures in the parking lot tonight instead of in its home in our garage. Then, however, I thought of how the fleet car doesn't properly belong to anyone, how no one loves it, how it is part of no one's family. It never goes anywhere fun. The people in it are never making happy memories. When it's time for it to go it will be nothing but a cold calculation - how many miles, what repairs etc. So. I'm like a foster mother tonight to the orphan car. I thought, well, you enjoy that garage, you unloved utilitarian Ford you. So, maybe a beautiful soul if nothing else.