Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sick bodies

Today after rehearsal Maureen told me about her car. Before she had a car, she worried constantly about cancer: the idea of a silent problem that was more likely to kill her if left undetected. She said the only policy was hypervigilance, and she brought every single lump, discoloration, node, bump, variation of texture, surface and physiology to the attention of RNs, LPs, PAs and MDs. 90% of them were "fat deposits." Some were glands. Many were moles. Once a thing turned out to be a scar where she didn't remember a cut. In her wrist, she had something called a ganglion. But she kept going back.

Then she got a car. It was all right. It was blue, a Volvo, and for a month or so it had four power windows. Even after that first month, it still had three power windows. It had air conditioning in the beginning, and it definitely had heat all along. It often had as many as three good tires. And a tape player. She said she busted out all her old tapes, and some had survived her storage method (bag). She listened to them, and she wondered why she'd ever stopped listening to them, and then she stopped listening to them again. It was, as she said, all right. But then the worry set in. And soon, she was worrying constantly.

What was that sound? It was like a cranking sound, a sound of metal under strain, that sound that girders make when they collapse in movies, that she said was like the sound they played on "The Bionic Woman" while Lindsay Wagner would run in slow motion. That sound. When her mother's car made that sound, she remembered, it was the CV joint, but her car didn't have a CV joint, she was told by people she trusted. So what was the sound? It turns out, it was an exhaust rattle. And then there was the little problem of the slow tire leak, which was caused by a large nail. And the very fast tire leak, which was caused by an enormous bolt.

Then there were the brakes, which shortly after being at 50%, were gone. Which in turn was most likely a caliper problem. There was that whistle in the radiator belt. The alignment thing, too. The exhaust rattle did go away, or at least she couldn't hear it anymore when her muffler became 99% disassociated from the car, and she dragged it, home, sparking, for three miles. Could those sparks ignite the gas tank? She didn't know, so she stopped driving until that problem could be addressed, which was probably what killed the battery. Which she had replaced when she had the muffler done. But the brakes were somewhere in the mix, too, and, meanwhile, it wasn't exactly as if she had been getting free gas.

The car was getting expensive. By the time the mechanics fixed everything it was very expensive. She started driving it again, but she'd adopted a new policy of hypervigilance and she was bringing the car to the mechanics every time she drove it, almost. And when she noticed this, she also noticed it was the first time in more than a decade that she wasn't constantly worrying about cancer in her body, having displaced it to her car. Which she kept, for that reason alone.


Blogger Mike said...

It all goes back to the thing about how guys buy big cars to make up for their small wieners. If she had bought an H4,brand new, she'd be "all right."

January 04, 2007  
Anonymous Blosterman Fortnum-Brays said...

Are you talking about the Syriana? My cousin had one and the hydraulics were all messed up. They brought it to the shop about thirty times in the first three months, and they finally just left it there for the mechanics' kids to use as a jungle gym.

January 04, 2007  

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