DiplomatiCat the Talking Beast

Inspired By Ire, Impelled By Ideal … "Never a TAME Lion"

Category Archives: Me

End of the Ride

Hey all – I need ….someone. Empathy. Understanding. Validation or just plain acceptance of what I feel and why I feel so much GRIEF right now.

Why? Because it’s truly the end. I have been feeling a sense of increased urgency to figure out my life and direction and place in the universe. Partly because of the number 45 – my age – marking the turning point in life where the road is more downhill than up in the changing slope of birth to death, and partly because of some nagging FEELING in the back of my consciousness that I am running out of time to figure it all out.

I imagine it to be the sort of urgency that sometimes people who die very young express as if they somehow know they will not grow old and seem to do more in the time they do have. a It’s not like I was sure I would die before reaching age 60 or anything, but I’ve felt a notable sort of panic-y tension building — just like a horror movie when you KNOW the jump scare is coming, but just not exactly WHEN, and the music is starting to signal it, but you know it might still be a fake out tease too — that somehow, for my discovery of my place in the world, my time is running out.

And it’s made more frustrating that the tools I feel I need to use to get me there are all inexplicably failing in the most irritating ways. For one, the fact that this post is almost impossible to write because the cursor keeps jumping all over the text and inserting the type into previous lines, selecting and overwriting, and generally just not cooperating with the speed at which I ought to be typing it thanks to having to correct and undo every other word. It’s maddening enough to drive me off of posting some of the most important things I have felt I needed to express because it is simply impossible to keep track of the thought when the words won’t come out on the page in order. I need to make five keystrokes on average for every one that should be necessary to get the thought out. But I’m not quitting this time, I’m fighting through it every step of the way even if I have to backspace five times every other word because I really NEED to express this just to see if ANYONE gets it, if ANYONE at all understands and can relate to why I am so gutted right now, because I need to feel a little less like a complete loser and a little less alone.

Because today, TODAY, I got the real shape of that countdown timer to the end. I finally have something concrete on the horizon marking the end of the line. Today is the day my mechanic – the one I chose for being honest to a fault, which made me feel safe that he wouldn’t rip me off on something I was a pretty easy target to get away with it on – he told me that it probably wasn’t even worth me having him do an oil change. And here I was bringing it in hoping to get a few leaks dealt with, maybe even a tune up to help me pass smog. And now I am faced with making the choice of maintaining her or letting it die with an eye towards saving that repair money to purchase another vehicle that might be in better, more reliable condition.

It’s the clutch, you see. Much like my memory and focus and self -esteem, it’s slipping. I had not noticed this, but I do know that I probably burn the clutch quite a bit in the small bit of driving I do, all street stop and go, very little highway and often in traffic. I HAD noticed that the clutch had gone soft on me, which appeared to be the result of a leak in the slave cylinder, and knowing that 60k miles ago it had cost me $500 bucks for a new one ( thankfully, only AFTER holding on until we pulled into a parking space in front of our motel room in Vegas, which made it somewhat forgivable considering the potential towing cost of having gone out somewhere in the middle of the desert vastness between here and there instead), I figured it was imperative that I have it looked at before it possibly stranded me somewhere in the vastness of road between here and the Bay Area, which was a trip I had been plotting to make to re-home some chinchillas that literally have my names on them… ( Well, not MY name, but the names I would have given to chinchillas if they had stuck to the first ones that I tried to attach them to – Chester nor Wally apparently did not want to be called Gizmo or Pikachu, but the two chins looking for a home just happened to be called exactly that. I think I must have them, but they are in Brentwood, and I am here.)

At any rate, I knew that new tires were a must, and that smog check had to be passed, and that she might do with a once over to make sure she was worthy of such a trek. She has gotten me from one end of the country to the other and has been with me longer than my longest lived pet at 23 now, but I was still imagining that she might someday regain her former glossy paintjob and see me through to an adulthood where I might have gainful employ and savings for a future and the overall wherewithal to retire her with dignity when I finally replaced her with a model of my choosing, preferably with the same virgin status that this car once had when I drove her off the lot, to be at the end of her life a single-owner vehicle from start to finish. As long as I could drive her, there was hope of something more and better to come. But this clutch, now, has defined the time period I have left to make something of myself before I lose even more resources to do so. The clutch, showing the definitive sign of eventual failure to come, is essentially the ticking time bomb that blows my life of independence and dreams out of existence and leaves me relegated to settling for what I can get, without the resources to get much of anything.

This clutch needs replacing either now or soon enough when it will go kablooey. And it will cost about $850 bucks to do it. It WILL go, it is only a matter of when, and when it does, the car will NOT be driveable. This is the only path to being able to grab my keys and go when and where I want to and it is already pushing the limit of how much the car is worth in terms of dollar value, and only marks the start of what would need to be done to the car to get it to match the functional state of another used car which might cost half as much as the repairs. What I could get for the money that would end up following this repair should another problem arise, in the suspension perhaps, which is already worn, or other major system would be a better investment of cash and hope for its future reliability. I can scrape around getting some used tires to throw on it, save the money of labor by having my bf install new brake pads in stead of the shop by buying the parts on ebay much like I did when I already earned my own macho points by replacing the radiator myself when that went flooey, and maybe hold back the reaper a little longer with some seals and whatnot being replaced to stop the slow leaks that have sprung up like in the slave cylinder of the clutch, but even if I can maintain the hydraulic function of it by keeping it topped with DOT3 brake fluid — and not letting it dry out like the situation that brought my attention to it now — that slippage means it’s on it’s way out no matter what. AND I still haven’t address the cracked CV boots on both axles yet (when I’d only suspected the one on the left had gone.)

If the money would mean that I might go another 5 or 6 years with her, I’d be okay with that. I like my car, even though it looks like a piece of shit. It FITS me. I bought it because it fits me better than other cars I tried. I am comfortable behind the wheel, and feel her edges as if they were my own. If only someone had been there with a camera to video tape that amazing feat of parallel parking I executed so flawlessly that one Thanksgiving in Hollywood when the only spot available was just a few inches longer than the length of my car, it could have been used as a textbook demonstration of how to do it right: not a single back n’ fill necessary, just 1, 2, 3 and six inches from the curb like a BOSS. Seriously. It was impressive. And I doubt I could have done it in any other car.

But, Stacy says it might be as little as a few weeks, maybe 6 months, no telling when it could be that the next major issue crops up, meaning another 300 or 400 to follow and I am obligated to throw good money after bad if it does? He doesn’t advise it. And it breaks my heart, because he is too honest to be believed in telling me that truth.

Folks, if you have a Honda/Acura (or a Toyota even, as I hear he expanded the business) you can’t do better on a solid guy to treat you and your ride right than Affordable Care of Hollywood on Santa Monica. His yelp reviews drew me in with the talk of the diagrams he would draw to explain the repairs and why they were necessary. And I even got one of those firsthand when I first brought him my car to explain how the master cylinder needed to be replaced. It’s not every mechanic that is willing to tell you when it is time to let go, while still saying he is at my service to do whatever I choose to do. The guy is worth 7 stars out of 5, no doubt.

And when that guy tells you it wouldn’t be worth it to do an oil change service on the car, you know the end is nigh.

This is devastating because I always had HOPE that things would turn around before I ran out of options. As long as I had my car running, I could tell myself that it would somehow come together for me and I could at some point be able to buy a new one – whichever car I wanted, because I would be a grown up that could do such things like buy a car, because I had a job, and a purpose, or something like that – before this one became unusable. It looks like shit, but I thought if I could just get a little more secure, that I could fix it eventually, that someday more options would present themselves. And now that someday is a lot closer, without those options available.

And I can’t seem to stop crying.

Because it means an end to the possibility. If she goes before I can get a grip on shit, I am stuck without a car at all or one that I need help to buy from my parents or one that I just have to get out of need and hate being in. I haven’t even LOOKED at a car in all these years with any interest in being behind the wheel.

(Well, there was ONE exception, and that was another Honda Civic, the 2006 Si model billboard was the only time I ever even thought -” wow, nice car!” I’d not mind getting out of my Civic into one of those, but I think even the price on a 12 year old car is out of my range without real help by several thousand dollars. It even looks good in white, which is something I have never said about any car ever, even my own model civic. In black, though… Yeah I could get behind that…. In theory if not in financing. )

But I need to start saving now for the next ride, that I will have to buy well used if I am to afford one at all, and I might not even have enough time to do it before this one is kaput. Which means more struggle either without a ride at all, or with one I don’t want but need. And I am so tired of trying to reach for the bottom instead of the top.

You see, it’s not the CAR, I’m mourning, it’s my dreams of being something more than I am now… something better, something bigger and more enviable. And if I don’t figure out how to become that before the clutch runs out on my car, I think I will lose hope that I can do it at all. I am muddling through the technology fails on my computer and my phone and my EVERYTHING trying to hold out until I can finally make some good of myself and feel like a functioning human. I really don’t see how you people with children even have that much confidence that you would take on such a responsibility. I think I would not even be sure I could keep a child alive. I have enough trouble with the pets! See my Horrible Hamster Tales blog entry and tell me if I am not right to be wary and traumatized and afraid that I would be unfit to raise a human to succeed in this world. I don’t even know how to do it myself, and I can’t teach what I don’t know. I feel like if I can’t even get a car at 45 without asking my parents for money, I haven’t a prayer of passing anything of value on to the next generation. Maybe a deep and abiding interest in butterfly life cycles, but that’s about it.

I feel like I have run out of time to prove myself worthy at life.

And the people closest to me are baffled that I am upset about how much it will cost to fix my CAR, which doesn’t help me feel like I have surrounded myself with the right emotional support team. It’s not the car I am mourning, it is the idea of my best ME that is dying with her…

Does anyone understand this? Or am I really as alone I as I have feared I might be in the world?