Car repair is not a linear progression, with incidents sweetly spaced so as to remind us, gently, that nothing lasts forever.
It is an aggregation of aggravation, where one failure begets another, in clumps timed to crest when your wallet is flattest. Unlike that twinge in our side, or that odd pressure in our chests, we can’t ignore the symptoms of pending failure when it is our cars that get sick. No matter how hollow the piggy bank, we can’t disregard that tick, that bang, that odd noise coming from the wheel, or the window that will not raise.
The window that will not raise…once upon a time, before we got clever, whether a window would raise or lower was a cooperative effort between us and car: the car door window would exist, and we would apply our muscle to crank the window up or down.
Now, we’ve shifted all the burden to the car, and expect it to do our bidding when we flick a button. Handy when we’re driving along and need more air; less so when you click the button and nothing happens. Worse, when nothing happens after the window is already down.
Then we’re ripping plastic bag and holding sticky, grimy duct tape—to cover this hole that seemed so small yesterday, but is a veritable cavern mouth today. One puff of wind and the car is suddenly transformed into a Victorian street harlot, pocked with boils.
Cars. Cars free us. Cars take us places. They keep us dry in storms, cool in summer and warm in winter. They help us to get to seaside and forest, to work and home.
They also attach themselves to our bank accounts, like a leech to a vein.
Cars. We wear them down, and they wear us down, in return.