It's looking like time to start listening to what my car is trying to tell me. I'm old, I'm tired, I'm ready for the pasture. (That's the car talking, but it's pretty much the way I feel myself these days).
Thanks to the extra 45 minutes I was stuck at the post office this morning, waiting for the engine to decide to turn over, I lost most of the rest of the day. When I finally got back, there were three messages from the Boss on the answering machine, each one more desperate than the one before.
Just before I left I'd faxed him a first draft, thinking I'd be back in plenty of time for the next revision (and the next and the next). I should have known better, because I knew I wouldn't be able to take the usual precautions with the car. And for that I blame the rain. The one thing I can do when it isn't raining is take a long enough walk to let the engine cool down. When I do that, I have no problem.
Now, let's get one thing straight. If it's going to rain, there needs to be some advance warning. It doesn't help when the weather guessers tell us there's a system coming in this weekend. What I want to know is whether the sky is going to be dark and drizzly when I wake up in the morning. And for today the answer was yes, but I had to find out using my own system (peeking through the mini-blinds).
Rain is just a little more depressing than usual lately because of the car situation. On days when I can walk, I park the car ten minutes away from the post office. By the time I get back to it, it's at least twenty minutes later. (Stay with me here.) Trial and error (and error and error) indicates that this is the minimum time my car can sit and then start on the first try. Ten minutes is definitely not enough.
My first stop was the bank, and by the time I'd finished standing in line there, and doing some personal business at the ATM, and wandering around the grocery store inside the bank (or is it the other way around?) filling my cart with unnecessary items (because my list was too short to take up enough time), my car was more than ready to take me to my next stop. The post office.
During the time I was driving from the bank to the post office, it was raining hard for the first time all day. Otherwise, I probably would have parked at the usual spot and walked, and everything would have been okay. Instead, I drove all the way to the post office and parked on the street. I parked on the street, not so I wouldn't get stuck in the lot (although that's a good enough reason), but so I didn't have to drive in that lot, where people routinely back into each other.
Well, you know the rest, or most of it. I was in the post office between five and eight minutes (or, as I like to call it, "the dead zone"). Turn the key, no go. Wait ten minutes, try again, no go. By this time it had stopped raining as hard, so I got out and went for a walk. I got drizzled on a little, but twenty minutes later I was driving home.
This is hard for me to deal with. I should have a new car, but I'm afraid. There, I said it. I'm afraid I won't qualify for a car loan, or that I'll end up paying too much, or making payments that I can't handle, or with a lemon that's even worse than the car I have now. I just know that all of this is going to happen. That's why I haven't bought a car. I hate myself for being weak this way, but that's the way I am.
It's coming to the point where the car is making the decision for me, though. I dread going to the gas station, because I'm not there long enough to avoid the dead zone. So I don't go anywhere, to keep from running low on gas. It has a sort of dampening effect on making plans and getting out of the house. Even when it isn't raining.