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.