Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Like an old horse

This morning I ventured off of my normal route to work to drop off the rent check downtown. On the way there I realized that my old car was a lot like an old horse, set in its ways. Let me elaborate

(((flash back blurred segue))))

When I was living on my Mom's farm back in Ohio, we boarded some horses for a neighbor in our barn and pastures. As part of the deal my sister and I were allowed to ride the horses ourselves. There were two horses, Red Bird & Buckshot and they had lived together for years, they were besties. Red Bird was a big beautiful reddish-brown quarter horse and Buckshot was a scrappy little black and white speckled pony with a bad attitude. Once I was trying to mount the saddle on Buckshot and he kicked me with his back leg knocking me off. I swear I almost punched that horse straight in the face, I has my fist pulled back and everything and then realized I was about to punch a horse in the face and laughed at myself instead. Needless to say Buckshot didn't get ridden as much as Red Bird and if you took them out separately you could hear Buckshot whinnying from the barn the whole time.

Once I had Red Bird out for a ride and we made it about half a mile down the road at a nice and easy pace. I wasn't a pro at horse riding and never really trusted the giant creatures so I usually took it slow. Red Bird didn't want to be out at all, and especially not without Buckshot but I convinced myself I was the boss and we went a little further. That's where I was wrong, Red Bird was the boss, and he was about to prove it. When we turned around and pointed back in the direction of the farm Red Bird knew right then and there where he was headed. What waited at the end of the line for him was a bale of hay and his ol' pal Buckshot. Like fate the minute we turned I heard Buckshot call out to Red Bird and that was all it took. Red Bird set off like a kid trying to catch the school bus and I was like his backpack flailing in the wind. He was in full canter and I was hanging on for dear life. I tightened the reigns and yelled "Whoah!" to no avail, he wasn't going to stop until he was home. We plowed through the neighbors fields and finally made it back where he slowed down and casually walked over to the stable allowing me to dismount. It was a short and terrifying ride but I made it back in one piece.

Now, back to my old car and me

(((flash back segue coming into focus onto present time)))

This morning I had to drop off my rent check so instead of waiting until 8:45 to leave for work, I left at 8:20 to allow enough time to drop off the rent and get to work on time. I hopped in Lucy (just like horses cars have names) and cranked the engine, low and behold she didn't start right up like normal, in fact the battery sounded sluggish. I tried a few times and she came back, roaring with the extra gas I was pumping (the equivalent of giving out extra oats & hay). I let her sit for a minute and warm up while I wrote out my rent check. Normally I drive a slow back road to work, facing the sunlight, taking my time and letting her warm up on the way. Today I went the opposite direction on a street with traffic and multiple lanes, the sun at my back. Stopping at traffic lights, Lucy was slow to speed up and take off when the light changed. I made it towards downtown and was waiting for a father & daughter to cross the street before I made my turn. Once they were safely out of the way, I eased onto the gas and Lucy sputtered, and barely moved. I feebly smiled at the dad who I had noticed admiring the car and tried again. I gave her more gas and probably seemed like I was showing off but was only trying to get her to move (that's right, I'm the boss). She lurched forward taking me to the middle of the intersection and and then sputtered out again, eliminating any chance of looking like a show-off, or at least a successful one. So I pumped in more gas, go dammit go! We made it through the intersection and headed toward the rental company. I dropped off the rent and turned around, back toward my usual route.

As soon as we made on our way toward the back road and the slow ride to work, facing the sun once again she perked right up. No more stuttering, even the rattling exhaust pipe calmed down when her engine idle returned to normal. Now she knew where we were going, now we were back on schedule. She knew what was waiting for her at the end of the trip. She was headed to her very own parking space under the only shady tree in the lot where the dappled sunlight would shine on her hood. There she will patiently wait until my lunch break. I made it to work in one piece and she got what she wanted. Everything was right in this world and that's where I will end this story, my car is like a trusty old horse that occasionally lets me think I'm the boss. :-)

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