Fix the Bulb, lose the engine

so we replaced the little, insignificant lightbulb above the license plate. There are two of them, so the plate is lit except when you need to get the car inspected, then they dun you for not having all working lights. So we fixed it. Replaced it. Took a while because it just wouldn’t turn on, then we changed one for the other, switched places and it stayed lit. Now the car won’t start.

Honest to God. Now the car won’t start. It’s ridiculous. We’re going to try to jump start it, see if that helps. Right now it just tick-ticks and doesn’t turn over. The Volvo is 10 years old and often auto-heals itself. I’m hoping this happens now. Daughter is coming over to jump start it. She knows how to do everything. She’s brilliant at solving any problem. I depend on her very much, knowing she’ll come put out any fire that starts.

I used to be a reactionary person. As I aged, I think it’s as I lost Mom and no longer had small children to knee-jerk react to — I lost that reactionary stance. I became a stand back and watch person. A wait and see person.

Judgement suspended. It’s difficult to know what’s better. It seems to be best to figure out, if you can, what kind of person to be at the time in your life — what needs doing. To be in a constant state of “reactionary bliss” leads to confusion (eventually) because you over load your adrenalin reflexes. Everything is on fire, therefore, you’re in a constant state of stress.

Ya gotta’ temper one with the other. Like when I was rear-ended last week. Not being reactionary, taking it calmly, but realizing I could have hurt my back, I allowed the EMTs to load me into an ambulance for CT scan and X-rays. The woman who hit me was absolutely hysterical. She lost her shit big time and it was a small accident. She didn’t want to call the police but sorry, madame, police it must be. I fear for her, bless her heart, I actually don’t care about her a bit. I will fight, hence reactionary moment, to recover the towing fee I had to make last week but any other mess from the wreck — well there simply isn’t anything else…

I can’t have a cigarette this morning, or today, because I’m going to the dentist. Gotta’ keep up appearances, although the dental tech told me she could tell I smoked from something — probably my tongue — so dentist will know too. I am not ashamed of smoking but I am disappointed in myself. Smoking is stupid. I smoke around 3 cigs a day, sometimes 4 if I’m stressed. Not a terrific amount but too many. Rob, on the other hand, smokes until there are no more. This is why we can’t afford to smoke. He would smoke a pack a day, instead of the preferred pack a week.

I went out to try to start car and it responded a little more robustly. The clock light still didn’t come on, but the tick tick was a bit more tickyticky. Rob wanted to have another cigarette, so we sit and wait again.

Meanwhile. I made a Guest Book log for Fred. He is our dear friend who is having a photography retrospective at the Arts Council starting this Friday. On Tuesday we take his framed photos downtown. This is all based on the assumption that jump starting the car will heal it of all its woes. I stand firmly behind the idea of it being healed. I will not give in to panic. It’s 10:00 now and we will need to be out of here for our appointments by 11:30 . I don’t see this happening. I will not give in to panic. Will not.

Okay, I’m panicked. I really need to get to dentist, they truly frown upon broken appointments. Will not give in to panic. Rob is in a panic. If I take on any other attitude but “calm strength” my stomach will implode and I will start walking in circles. That’s what I do, but I try to temper that impulse with weeding, impulsive pulling up of small green plants and making piles of them. It’s a healthy foil to panic, eh?

I have announced to friends that I will not allow the universe to conduct experiments upon my psyche. I know how not to respond. I understand a calm countenance and shall remain so. It sure as hell sounds like I’m panicking when I re-read this whole thing,

Guess I am panicking. It comes from owning this POS Volvo, 3 years ago. We eventually sold a car worth over $8K for $2500 because it had electrical problems. We never knew when it was going to start. It left me/us stranded all over eastern NC at the most inopportune times — well, come to think of it, when it is a good time to have your car not start? Having been stranded dozens of times by that car, having to sell it because it wasn’t worth having, really played a number on my brain. Years of abuse suffered at the hands of a vehicle then selling it and going THREE years without a vehicle.

My daughter gave me this 10 year old Volvo for Christmas. She and her husband. They got a new Volvo for themselves and very nicely. very thoughtfully. gave us their old car rather than using it for a trade-in. I realize it’s my car now, despite it not being titled in my name, but in their mind, it’s my car, not theirs. In my mind, it was still their car because the title was in their name.

Today I needed to go get the car inspected. Hence the fixing of the inconsequential license plate bulb, needed for car to pass inspection. Mess with one end and the other end revolts. Now we’ve been waiting for daughter for over 30 minutes so of course we are in adrenalin mode. It will pass once the car starts. We think, in hindsight, that the battery is old and running just the lights for a while may have set it over the edge. Don’t have the money for a new battery, damn it.

And then there was the woman who rear-ended me last week. There’s another long story. She was taking out her teeth when she hit me. Yup. Taking out her teeth. I forgot to mention that in the original report, didn’t I? She got a ticket for failure to maintain distance, too bad for her. I got stuck with a $425 tow/storage bill. Who lost in that fight? I hope Andy takes it seriously when they call and gets my tow bill money back. I fear he’ll not respond correctly as I have the receipt and he doesn’t have a clue about the amount. All this comes from me thinking the car was still theirs and them believing the car is ours. I took the legalistic outlook, who owns titles, who pays insurance and they took a possession is 9/10ths of the law outlook.

The universe is trying to mess me up. I had a positive attitude, can-do-it outlook this weekend. Then the universe started throwing things at me. Light bulbs, car won’t start, doctors appointments that cannot be made, and I have one again tomorrow morning. we really need a car this week, it better start and be ok. I will wait another hour and then call dentist. Like I said, they won’t be pleased.

This stream of consciousness, no one is going to read this, blog approach really helps my brain. If anyone does ever decide to read through this? Well, God bless them, bless their hearts. Really. Who would want to go through the rambling of me, the 63 year old panic stricken trying to stay in control woman of eastern NC?

The rivers are rising. The River of Strange has lost its tranquil waters and the banks are soon to be overtopped when the levee breaks and I start to truly lose my shit.

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About Me

An English diarist and naval administrator. I served as administrator of the Royal Navy and Member of Parliament. I had no maritime experience, but I rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, diligence, and my talent for administration. Also archivist and avid fan of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.


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