Sunday, September 22, 2013


I recently said farewell to my dark green, '99 Ford Taurus, a nice comfortable car with chronic, terminal “health” conditions. It had been on life support for a while. A few months back I'd thought she was a goner, yet like Lazarus, I saw her rise from the dead, (the miracle mostly being that I was able to come up with the $417 repair cost!). Alas tho, her resurrection was short lived, and with a heavy heart I looked to receive the best possible payout for a “junked” vehicle. I thanked the old girl for sticking around as long as she did. “I know I got peeved at you,” I said as I sat in the front seat and baked in the hot Florida sun. I cleaned out my last meager belongings: my St. Christophers Medal, auto papers, maps and and other items. “It's not your fault that you were so poorly designed. You did the best you could,” then I closed the door for the last time. They came and dragged her away and I wondered if she'd be scrapped or fixed and I felt a great deal of empathy for the fate of the car whose faulty construct and tenacity to keep going were so similar to my own.

Afterwards I sat with the overwhelming realization that for the first time since I was 19 my personal transport was gone. Given my health and financial status I realized that I might never have another car again. Having had health problems my entire life, I never worried about getting “older”. I had long known what chronic illness and disability were like, but what appeared as the final loss of personal mobility was a heavy blow...especially at my age.

I'd already started riding the bus some time back (tho sometimes with great difficulty), with it's limited, long winded routes, and for the most part I could reach those destinations most necessary for survival. But what would I do if I had to evacuate, especially with two cats? How would I get to the one bank that didn't charge me a fee? How would I carry large heavy items? How would I get to my club store? Question after question came to mind and little worries began to swirl about inside my head, their black tendrils threatening to take root in my mind.... This isn't such a problem when you know a number of people, or an extended family lives nearby. But the occassional years of isolation from being totally incapacitated, gave me few to call upon and I suddenly was thrust into what must be a common denominator for those seniors who move to be near their kids but leave most everyone they know behind. When you have severe mobility issues or few to rely upon, your trips and visits often are relegated to necessities, and the days of fun and freedom wane like the golden strands on a graying blondes' head, fewer and fewer, their shiny glint ever duller in the sun.

Lost now was the ability to go to the beach and collect sea beans just before the hurricanes rolled in. Lost now were the days of running all my errands at once in a single time and gas saving day, sometimes stopping for a $1 taco or burger as a special treat....maybe even really splurging with a side of beans or fries for another buck or so. So much for going to Barnes and Nobel to check out the books and magazines and (if I'm lucky enough to have the funds) buy a rare gift card during the holidays. No more “days off” where on a rare occasion I'd take a day long vacay (the only vacay I ever get any more) and go from one thrift shop to the next, stopping for a taco and to visit some of the farther away libraries. Some times I'd spend little more than gas money and take my lunch and drink, but it was a rare self given gift to get away and enjoy myself for an entire day that offered the possibility of fun, even if all I had to spend were a few bucks. Then I felt an especially deep pang at the realization that no more would I be able to stop at Twisty Cone on my way home from my out of town doctor and purchase a sugar free ice cream....and it was sooooo gooooood! Tho the opportunity usually presented itself only a few times a years (if I had the money), sometimes I'd even get a small sundae (okay, yes, it wasn't totally sugar free as a sundae: my bad!). I sigh out loud just writing about it. My diet so restricted...but that was one thing I really loved that I could occasionally get away with. In that moment it seemed even farther, even more difficult to get to, I wondered if I'd ever go again.

I sigh again as I write this. The realization of the depth of my loss took it's toll for a little while. Then, like everything else in a “less than” life, I accepted it and moved on.

Todays Lesson: “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” George Orwell

copyright Linda Matthews 9/22/2013

Update:  I was the lucky recipient of a "pay when I can" loan just before the government shutdown.  The timing was indeed fortuitous as I finally found just what I'd been looking for:  a 1993 Geo Metro with 109,000 miles (half from being towed behind a winnebago) for $2500.  I was the first caller right after posting, but for a much sought after vehicle that receives up to 47 mpg highway, it was quite strange that no one else inquired about it...that is until the government came back to life.  Bids came as high as $5000 but I'd been told that as first call I had dibs and am now a happy camper!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on getting rid of one of the most destructive inventions ever. With your interest in social issues you might find interesting. After living carfree myself for about 7 years, I find the idea of driving appalling--even with the public transportation mess.