Friday, June 10, 2016

Chinese takeout waitress was my Jiminy Cricket

 If I had known that owning my robot car was gong to be such a pain in the ass, I might not have done I'm glad I was blissfully ignorant to the challenges (missing out on this independence would have sucked!). [Tangent: I am cognizant of my level of laziness and I'm glad no one told me that I would never be able to go to a Jiffy Lube because my undercarriage is too low or that parking would be a nightmare or that every time I call AAA, I would have to give a driving lesson or get blank stares from service people.] This month has definitely been one where I have had to consistently remind myself that it isn't just a trash bucket...but is my trash bucket to freedom. Don't get me wrong, I'm insanely proud of driving, but frankly sometimes that pride is easily swapped out for frustration.

About 3 weeks (and $1800 ago), I got a warning that my engine was overheating on the way to work. [Tangent: Just FYI for someone with a real fear of dying in a fire, getting a loud beeping warning you of overheating while in the center lane on a busy interstate set forth a bit of an anxiety spiral.] After some water added to some dohicky or another, it was fine, but I needed and oil change so I took it to my dealership. [Tangent: This is generally a pretty painless experience. After going there for years, they have always been amazing and helpful and have learned how to drive my car, which is an undertaking, so high fives to them. Even still, when my car is in the shop, it's a bit of a logistical nightmare. I have to leave my power chair with it because I have no access to a ramped vehicle to transport it home conveniently. Uber doesn't exactly have those readily available; renting a car with my specified adaptations isn't an option, and I live outside of the metro area so all the access ride options become divisible by 0.].

However with even the best of mechanics, sometimes their knowledge of transformer vans falters. [Tangent: I guess it's like having a vet work on a unicorn.] When I picked it up 5 days later, it had new gaskets, but a host of new problems that rendered me insane. [Tangent: A shrill incessant beeping, a rear door that wouldn't close (or open really) no radio/air/speedometer/gas indicator.] The whole vehicle was on crazy pills.

This meant I had to call for reinforcements from my mobility dealers, who deal with all the specialized equipment stuff. After an afternoon there and taking a chunk out of bank account, I had fixed all these new problems. Yet I still needed an oil change [Tangent: Hello square one, nice to see you again!], which isn't their jurisdiction so they don't have the materials readily available.

As I was driving home, I was mentally and emotionally spent and mad at myself for allowing my vehicle and its many quirks to get the best of me. I needed to feed my pain with Chinese food. I pulled in to pick up food from a place my dad used go all the time. As I was checking out the sweet lady taking my order asked me a question (unrelated to the enormous amount of food) I was buying that shook me out of my blergh-ness.
Cute little lady: "You drive here?"
Me: "Yep."
Her:"You so independent"
Me:"...or stubborn?"
Her: "stubborn is good." 
Somehow this weird exchange over a pickup of some wonton soup was just the pep talk I needed to basically let me know "you got this" after fighting car issues that no one seemed to understand for 8 days. Usually I'm really bad with awkward conversation and don't know how to act in the pressense of compliments (I'm a deflector, not an acceptor) but I took her words in, I felt better. [Tangent: I feel like if someone I knew really well said the exact same sentences, the effect wouldn't have been the same. Plus, I was too mentally exhausted to be cynical.] I know zero about cars but had handled this whole ballyhoo pretty well. Rerouting my week and solving the logistical and mechanical issues along the way. I was doing okay at adulting and it kind of just hit me.

Thanks Chinese restauranteur, you shook me from that piece of crap feeling.  You're just the kitty "Hang in There!" poster I needed that day, reminding me encouragement comes in weird soy-sauce scented places.

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