I like to think that I am a reasonably responsible person. In my mind's eye, this includes things like taking out the garbage on the regular basis and keeping the snow cleared from the sidewalks. Okay, so The Captain actually takes care of those things, and God Bless him for it, because realistically, if it were left up to me those particular chores might not get done. I do write out the bills every month, though. I also keep the house clean, do the cooking and organize our lives. I'm not so good with the birthday cards.
There is one area of life maintenance at which I fail miserably. Well, there's actually more than one, but for this first installment, I feel compelled to focus on the one, due to a situation that evolved the other day.
My car. It's a mess. It's a cluttered, dirty, crumb riddled mess. It's a giant black whole, into which things go in and never come out. Until I go on a road trip and realize I need to clear out the clutter to make room for things like The Captain, luggage and the dog. In those instances, it's a mad dash to get the garbage cleared out, so I can see what useful things are actually residing in there. Everything gets loaded into garbage bags and set inside the back door for processing when I get back, because invariably, I have waited until the last possible minute to do this.
We have just such a trip coming up next week, when we'll make the sojourn to my parent's house, nine hours down the road, for Christmas. The other day, it occurred to me that I should get a jump on the car issue. I couldn't bring myself to actually clean it out, but I did motivate myself to take it for an oil change. Despite the lack of order and cleanliness in the car, this is the one car related chore that I take care of on a regular basis. I think that's because it's a great diversion from actually having to clean out the car itself. I have a moment of clarity that allows me to see just how disgusting my car is, and I feel compelled to act. That feeling results, more often than not, in either a trip through the oil change place or a trip through the car wash, whichever is currently most appropriate.
So, being winter and only 10 degrees, my intention to get a jump on the car thing resulted in a trip to the oil change place. I love my oil change place. It's a local place, but still a drive through. I drive in. They change my oil, clean my windshield, give me coffee, check my lights and fill up my fluids. All for around $32. It's wonderful. There's this thing they like to do, though, that drives fear straight to my heart. They like to oil my door hinges. All four of them. Eeeeeeeek! As you can imagine, this involves them actually opening my doors and seeing what is in the back seat. Unacceptable!
I tell them when I pull in, You don't need to oil the hinges. They nod and start their routine. I have to watch them, though, because their routine is so ingrained that they reach for that door handle without really thinking about it. As they start to open my door (they always start with the driver's door) I hold onto the window casing firmly saying, Uhm, you don't need to do the doors. This gets me an Oh, yeah. But for the duration of the event I'm on edge, watching their every move lest they reach for one of those door handles while my attention is elsewhere.
Well, my car is particularly dirty at the moment, due to, well, I was going to make up an excuse, but truly, it's due to shear laziness. I suck. Anyway, it's dirty. So, we go through the usual Don't do the hinges, nod, really, please don't look into my car, oh, yeah routine, but I'm getting increasingly agitated and paranoid that they'll actually look in my car. I'm watching them with hawk eyes. No move is escaping my notice. They probably think I'm enthralled with their looks and charm, I'm watching them so closely, but whatever. It's necessary!
I'm so incredibly focused that when they ask me to turn on my headlights and then my high beams, I'm stumped. Jarred from my careful observation of their every move, I can't for the life of me remember how to turn the damn lights on. I'm looking intently at the dashboard, the console, and my steering column wondering how in the world I could have forgotten how to turn the lights on. I flip a few switches, because the last thing I want is for the to know I've forgotten how to turn them on. My thought process sounded something like this:
OMG, how is this possible?
How do I turn the stupid things on?
Wait, could this be early onset Alzheimer’s?
I'm only 30. It can't be. Can it?
What's he doing back there?
Is that a can of lubricant in his hand?
Crap, lights. Okay. I got nothing.
The nice man ended my suffering by saying, That's good. Can you step on the break and use your turn signals? God bless him. I, of course, remembered how to turn the stupid lights on after he asked me to move on to something else, but.....Hey, wait a minute. I never got the lights turned on. Why did he give me the okay?
This is when I realized that my hawkish watching wasn't flattering. It was just creepy. It's true. I made him uncomfortable to the point that he wanted me out of there so badly, so quickly, that he ceased to care if my car was functioning properly. My embarrassment knew no bounds that day.
I'm happy to report that I'm over it. But my car is still a mess. And I still have a road trip coming up. Car detailing is affordable, right?