Friday, December 24, 2010
Working out some thoughts about my past...... simple me-blogging
As we were running errands and dropping off gifts last night, I remarked to Princess that she had done a fine job cleaning out her vehicle. It looked good, she worked hard on it, and it deserved mention.
After.... going all introspectivy (yes, I can make up words... this is MY blog).... I thought about my own car. An elderly Volkswagon with high mileage, worn off paint, and too many problems to bother listing. It's not a vehicle I would jump into and take off cross country with, nor even cross state. In fact, I give consideration before leaving the county in it.
It's also not exactly neat inside. There are spare coats, a few towels, range gear, a hunk of copper pipe, tools, coffee cups...... not a pig sty but certainly not neat as a pin.
This, for me, would have been unheard of. My whole life I have kept my vehicles in good shape, clean, and neat. Ready to go wherever I wanted, whenever I needed to go. It was partly the OCD in me, partly my self reliant attitude, and partly just pride in my ride.
Not... Any... More... and I didn't realize it till last nights ride around the city. What had changed in me without my notice? Had my priorities changed that much in the last few years? When did 35 years of car ownership flip over into some new genre for me?
As I drove, and thought, with Princess giving me directions and not bursting my quiet moment (She's earned the name Princess....) I gave it consideration. Time and distance allowed me to look at things differently, and perhaps see them for what they are.
I have owned two new vehicles in my life. The first, as a boy, lasted a few years till it was hit and totaled. The car was nothing special to anyone but me, but I cared for it like it was a gold plated Ferrari. When that girl came spinning across the road in her borrowed old clunker, ramming my car into a store front.... I was more crushed than the car.
The second new vehicle, a lifetime later, was a 2005 Nissan Titan. A truck I had, in a way, fallen in love with. I wanted it... and was willing to pay what it took to have it. The day I picked up that truck was magical for me. Power, reliability, beauty, comfort, handling, the ability to go anywhere at any time.... and it was my favorite shade of red.
I had the best wax available on my desk before I even held the keys for the first time. That truck... stayed clean, and every tiny thing it needed was done almost before it appeared. I even kept the fuel tank filled, just on principle.
Till one day... it was gone. One morning I walked out of the house to find it not in the driveway.
My wife, who I had left two years before, had stolen it in the dark of night.
I say stolen, but in reality the registration was in her name. Both our names were on the financing and title. For a quarter of a century I had never cared who owned what, as I never thought we would be parted. Then... she lost her mind. The woman I had loved for all those years left me, and changed into something that had me balancing the decision to live or die on a daily basis. Money and ownership was not a consideration.
I chose life.
Where I had not considered nor worried whose name was on the registration, in my stupidity and denial, she had not forgotten. Two years after I left her, when the truck was nearly paid off, she came in the night and took it away... as much to strike an emotional blow as to simply have the valuable vehicle.
I thought at the time.... I was beyond her hurting me. I gathered my thoughts, turned rational, and moved on past my feelings for that truck. After all.... it was just a truck.
When she delivered her two page list of demands I was to fulfill before she would return my truck, I gave her a three word response. "Enjoy your truck". That was the last thing in the world she ever expected, I believe. Along with the nice truck she got a nice $650 truck payment, and since I no longer owned a vehicle I canceled the insurance policy I had been paying for both her vehicles and mine. When she swiped the truck from me driveway, she also unburdened $800 a month in financial load off my back. I don't think I ever thanked for that, which may be a thanks in itself.
In denying her the chance to hurt me by letting that truck slip from my emotional grasp, I had cast off a mooring line and moved one step closer to being free.
Hard on the heals of that soap opera came two truly soul crushing events. The relationship I was in ended very, very harshly... coldly cast aside (Perhaps Karma was involved). My heart was ripped in ways that still echo every single day.
Only weeks later, a woman who held the position of 'mother' in my soul died badly of cancer... withering hourly in front of my eyes. It was left to me to salvage her husbands life, mean old bastard that he is. It was not a time when I could deal with any more emotional blows... in fact.... such thoughts had to be sidelined as the duty and work load became suddenly huge. It all got buried away, and the whole 'truck' issue went with it, unnoticed in the avalanche.
Till I dug it out for observation last night.
Yes, my car is a POS, and I don't even take the time to keep it neat and clean as my lifetime habit has been, and now I think I understand why.
Two reasons, linked to each other. It's a car.... just a car.... and not something to become emotionally attached to. Not something to 'love'. Just a semi-reliable car that cost the right amount and was available at the right time. When I needed a ride and looked on Craigslist, there it was. No magic, no emotional investment... just wheels to get me to work.
Why no emotional investment? Because then someone could steal it away, and cause pain in exact scale to the enjoyment placed with the vehicle. The more I care about it, the more I'll be hurt when it's taken away.
That's what my wife left me as a present when she swiped that truck in the middle of the night, and I never realized till now. The truck was taken away almost two years ago now, and it was only last night that I realized the impact of it.
What now? Hell..... I don't know. But, maybe I'll clean out my car today, and look at replacing the thermostat. It's needed that for a year now.
I suppose, down the road, I'll be self-analyzing what those other blows have changed in me. Maybe, maybe not. Possibly they are better left buried.