If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?
The car most resembling how I’ve been feeling recently happened to be our third car, the car like me. We’d bought it used from some co-worker whose face (much less his name) has breached my mind’s curved horizon. Used is a benevolent description: a couple of common idioms would aptly depict its constitution: . . .On its last legs or has one foot in the grave. Desperation left little choice: I needed any car that worked to travel the 40 miles daily to a necessary yet useless and under paying job that freed me from beneath the spiked heel of a former employer who was a notoriously brutal, hateful, and infamously outspoken attorney that beguiled jurists to award her clients the largest financial settlements in state history. Charm was never wasted on me, though. Neither was persuasion. She wasn’t the boss, she was the owner: I wasn’t her assistant, I was her indentured servant. It was I who felt the eviscerating pressure from the pointy toe of her blah-blah collection of blah-blah-blah’s high-heeled shoe. So I grabbed at the first job even though they’d lowball me and I’d need to buy any car.
The car, a foster child of sorts, had been purchased then passed on, then sold and sold and sold until the gravely agitated owner whispered the auto’s immediate availability for cash only. And so I became the hastily orphaned auto’s benefactor. Until that one day arrived (the last bead threaded onto the string), when, as no surprise, another function failed and the pertinent idioms came to mind like eerie messages in the Magic Eight Ball: Are you throwing good money after bad or Are you pouring money down the drain? It all boiled down to a decision which I couldn’t face, so just like I did in the sixth grade when I was up to bat and had to face the gawky southpaw with a screaming heater which always caught the inside corner, or the lower back of a cowering batter, I fainted on my way to the plate. I was removed from the game and poor Gerry Schmidt took a fastball in the kidneys. Procrastination is a conundrum best dealt with tomorrow.
But while I’m not a car, I’m spending more time in the shop and starting to string beads. Unimaginable maladies have begun to appear (besides hum-drum mental illnesses): Edema of the lower extremities; rare forms of heart failure; pulmonary compromise; and rare to boot! My conditions occur in less than one percent of patients! Rare is a good thing, right? Not in medicine. Rare means few, few means no research, no research means no remedy.
I’ve been feeling lately like a mid-year 1983 Buick which runs, starts in the coldest Chicago winters, and does what a car should do. Yet recently I’ve heard more pings, louder knocks, noticed oil spots on the garage floor, and the lighter no longer glows orange. That’s why I’ve been posting less frequently: I’m fatigued, terribly sad witnessing this decline, and frightened.