yesterday i was on my way to pick up barb to take her to the hospital mostly because the regularly scheduled thing required sedation and she needed a driver to take her home, plus anxiety over never having an IV or anesthesia before and you want a friend with you.
my old car (a 2006 subaru forester with 168,000 miles on it) had gotten to the point where every time i brought it in for an oil change or a tire change over, the cost of the repairs was in the hundreds, and also every couple of weeks i had to throw in a quart of oil.
there's a sensor light that goes off when it needs you to do that- you go around a hard corner and the cruise control light starts to flash and the first time it happened i was all afraid but then i learned it's the car's way of saying: "hey, it's been a couple of weeks. how 'bout another quart of oil?"
i was going to stop on my way to barb's house to buy a quart of oil because turning onto bolton notch road the light came on and i was headed down bolton notch road (down being the operative word here, because bolton notch road is steep enough that in the winter if you are smart, it gives you pause) and all of sudden my engine has WAY TOO MANY RPMs and then the car made a noise i have never heard from a car and later the tow truck driver would ask me what kind of noise it was, and all i could say was "i don't know, horrible?" because i was really kind of concentrating on BEING GOING DOWN BOLTON NOTCH ROAD WITH THE KIND OF STEERING AND BRAKES THAT YOU HAVE LEFT WHEN YOUR ENGINE DIES.
you know, because a disabled car at the bottom of the road where you can at least safely pull far enough off to the side is much better than a disabled car in the traveled lane on the steep part of the road.
so then there were a flurry of phone calls: barb, my mom, towing. there was a lot of figuring to do in a big fat hurry. and then an hour or so of waiting next to the car. happily there was a shady spot and i had brought a chair and had a book to read.
when the tow driver arrived, he didn't so much as say good morning. he set to work like a flash, partly because he's a taciturn new england type and partly because to load my car he had to block off traffic and there was a dump truck waiting for him in each direction.
so then there was a long ride to the car place and when i got there i tried to call her but she wasn't picking up the phone so i walked around to the front of the building and she was coming out to meet me.
i swear, this conversation really happened:
"oh, there you are."
"how do you like this one?"
"does it come in other colors?"
it is very disorienting to have this happen in this way.
and also, when you set out in the morning with no intention of buying a car, there are certain things you leave undone, like cleaning your stuff out of the car, or removing all of the bike racks.
you know, and then those things have to be done in the dealer's parking lot on a hot afternoon while you're under some stress.
but i was up there on the ladder working on it and all of a sudden i thought. wow. it is hot out. and i did not bring any water.
and all of a sudden, as if on cue, the salesman came walking out with a big cup of cold water because, he said, "i'm sure you need this by now"
the salesman's name is mike. my family buys a lot of cars from him, because we like subarus and we like mike. of course, like all car salesmen, his career rather depends on how many cars he actually sells.
so anyway, i have a 2016 subaru forester. i like it very much. but the last time i closed the door on my old car, i bent over and kissed it on the hood before turning away with tears in my eyes.