Passing Midnight

My car died. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Depressingly.

It was quite alive at the start of the day: 6:20a.m., racing some guy in a minivan down I-76. He had cut me off on the US-202 off-ramp, and I was about to return the favor.

So there we were, hurtling down the expressway in a dead heat. I was looking for my opening to accelerate past him when my car topped out at 105m.p.h. This was unusual.

And as the minivan slowly crept past me, I looked down at my panel, alarmed and bewildered, and saw that my oil light had turned on. But that’s not all: my oil gauge was all the way down.

So I broke off the chase and pulled into the nearest gas station. I put two quarts of oil in and took my car home. The next morning, I took it to Midas and the engineer goes “Uhh, sir? Can you come look at sumthin?” He took me out to my car, and as he poured oil into the engine, we could see it splashing onto the ground below.

His prognosis? The car had an oil leak. Once I drove it with such a small amount of oil, the engine heated up and blew the seals out. Couldn’t I just replace the seals? Well, no, because the engine had been so damaged that it would have to be replaced sooner or later (sooner) as well. Incontinence, it seems, is easier to fix in people than in cars.

That was it. I yanked my Alpine system, the speakers and the XM Radio equipment (among other valuables), and said goodbye.

The past three weeks have been a lesson in how valuable a car really is. For 21 days I have only been in two places: home and work. Work and home. And, of course, I’ve opted for isolation rather than rely on the patronage of others. So stubbornly independent. It’s just the thing I need for my already-deteriorating state of mind.

These are dark days, indeed.

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