I made the observation on the Old Person’s Social Media Platform that I hadn’t bought any gasoline since February. Might even have been early February, and I still had half a tank.
“All electric?” my friend Jeremy wanted to know.
No. All parked.
“You need to take it out on the freeway once a week for twenty minutes,” he opined. My own opinion was that I the hell did not.
He elaborated. Something having to do with condensation. A crankcase. Rust. Dead car. I needed to run my car.
I’m sure he’s right. But when it comes to cars, and pets, and life mates, I need something that doesn’t ask much of me. Because that’s what it’s going to get. I certainly do not want to have to go throw a ball for my car. I don’t even have a crate to put it in. Besides, moving it would disturb the new plants just getting their roots down in the sludge next to my parked tires.
In forty years, we’ve had two more or less self-maintaining cats and one dog that climbed our fence paw-over-paw and headed out to the hinterlands for better cuisine, returning happily every evening with a mouthful of biscuit and sausage. It was a great arrangement. Sometimes we’d get a phone call to come pick her up at the tavern where she was hanging out, if she had overstayed her welcome, but mostly she just did her usual route, pooped in someone else’s yard, and knocked on the front door once we were home from work.
I don’t know what a crankcase is, but it doesn’t sound like something I want to be appeasing. You start in with that kind of indulgence, pretty soon your car is going to be whining for oil and a bath. I don’t think I’ve washed my car since Obama left office. There’s a distinct topography of bird poop mostly on the right side under the telephone wire. I’m not sure I want to disturb it even if I could at this point. It would be like vandalizing stalagmites.
Mainly, I’m lazy, which is how some people refer to my efficiency of leisure, but also when it comes to cars I have the opposite of pride of ownership. I’m ashamed. I certainly understand why it is cool to have your own capsule you can drive anywhere anytime all by yourself, but the sheer volume of infrastructure we have built up for this remarkable convenience is just embarrassing to the species. Pavement absolutely everywhere. Pavement just for parking. Bonus pavement to fill in ditches where wildlife might otherwise show up. Ships and pipelines and wells and tankers and refineries and drive-ins where you can idle while awaiting fried cow on a bun. Big box stores in former wetlands, moated with asphalt acreage. It’s ugly and dirty and convenient as all get-out.
And of course there’s that little detail of the carbon pollution that is quickly making our home planet uninhabitable. You’d think that would be of concern, but it isn’t. We don’t care if we’re going straight to perdition if we can do it in leather seats with a good sound system.
So I don’t want to be seen spoiling my car. I don’t want to have to exercise it, and there’s really no way to pick up its poop.
Wish that it were easy to "pick up its poop". My own car cost me nearly $400 last month because I had not been driving it enough. It turns out that one cannot run down to Wally Mart to buy a new battery (or take an old one in for charging) and then install it, oneself. Oh, no. It has gotten complicated. The wrecker came to haul my car in – a procedure in itself since the car was parked, nose in, in our garage. Fortunately, the guy who drove the wrecker understood all about releasing electrical brakes and, in several minutes, had the car up on the bed of his wrecker.
The garage didn't get my car until quitting time on a Friday; but, on Monday morning they checked out my alternator and electrical systems, installed the battery, and reset a bunch of stuff. (When I got it home I had to reset a bunch of other "settings".)
I can still refill the reservoir with windshield washing fluid; but, from one who used to do a great percentage of her own car maintenance, I've become pretty useless in maintaining a car.
A good way to feel that your skills have not deteriorated is to not have any in the first place. That was my strategy.
"Efficiency of leisure"? Oh, that's perfect, and I HOPE you don't mind if I borrow it. (Much easier — um, more efficient — than devising my own phrase!)
You are a marvel of efficiency, I've always said that.
Reminds me of something I heard 40 years ago and remember often: "Laziness is the mother of invention"
Or it would be, if…
I read a quote from Bill Gates, and I am paraphrasing, but he said that he always gives a difficult task to a lazy person to do, because they usually find the most efficient way to do it.
Except the lazy people who find the absolutely most complicated way to not do it.
I'm ashamed, exactly, with ya. Love you, Murr.
Love you back, Leslie. If my car dies, I'll do the liberal thing. I'll let the public radio station haul it away and buy new sneakers.
It's true about needing to drive them a LITTLE. But when I get to the point where I have to go out of my way to drive a car just to keep it in play, I think I'll swap out for taxi service;)
Two words here, get Uber. Okay, four more words of explanation- sell that stupid car.
I can't. There's plant life involved.
I still go to work, but isn't too far and don't go anywhere else mostly. I spent $16 on gasoline in April. "Efficiency of leisure" is my new mantra. Thanks for that!
You are most welcome–recite it in good health.
You probably don't have to actually move the car, just run the motor for a few minutes, although moving it would help to spread the wear on the tyres a bit. Just drive a few feet, admire the view and next time drive it back again the same few feet. Or sell it and put something in it's place, a nice big planter box of flowers maybe.
Actually, it's kind of little and cute and it wouldn't take too much potting soil to fill it.
The man of the house has installed battery chargers in our new car & the old truck, along w. the rabbit/rat prevention lights,wire mesh to keep nests/cholla piles out of the engine…I gave up my ancient volvo when we moved out to the desert, a very comfy car, loads to read in the backseat, food/water/vitamins under a handcrank sunroof, lots of equipment for trudging home in a blizzard..everything to hand. Nothing like our spiffy setup now, w. maps in the trunk (logic ?), only hand sanitizer easy to get to. uber not an option here, or taxis either – maybe EMTs, but then you'd have to have an emergency other than just wanting to get out…our cars are lifelines.
Definitely depends on where you've landed. I'm in an extremely walkable neighborhood. If I were picking a new place, that would be one of the top things to consider.
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