Hope And Optimism Or Regular Oil Changes? You Decide.

I got a flat tire yesterday. It was the result of part of a very sturdy chain-link fence being embedded in my tire. I don’t know how that happened. My husband Jim was curious about it as well.

He was even more curious when he took the car to have the tire patched and found out that I also needed an oil change, and had been overdue for an inspection since May.

“How did you not notice this?” He asked me.

“I don’t know,” I said. “How didn’t you?”

“The fine would have been $180 per month for every month it was overdue,” he told me. Many times.

“Good thing I didn’t get caught,” I said.

Back when I bought this car, I had to really work to convince him that I should buy used cars only, now and in the future. Someone else’s problems, is what he calls used cars. The only type of car a person like me deserves, is how I think of them.

“Have you ever changed your air filter?” He asked me, on the way to pick up the freshly inspected and tire-fixed car.

“Yeah,” I said. “NO.”

“How often do you get your tires rotated?”


It’s like he thinks a person just gets air filters changed and tires rotated with no prompting. Like I am some kind of mechanic. I told him maybe he should have married Danica Patrick.

If my tire looked like this – well to tell you the truth I probably wouldn’t notice.

And yet my cars, with the exception of one that I hated, have always been trusty steeds despite any accidental neglect on my part. Even despite smashing them into telephone poles and pillars in parking garages. In my defense, I’d like to point out that I have never smashed into anything but inanimate objects. Never other cars and certainly not people. This is a source of pride for me, and maybe that’s sad or maybe not – like everything else in life, it all depends on your perspective.

Unlike my cars, my husband’s vehicles always seem to give him trouble, despite all his babying and “regular maintenance.” My dad was the same way. He used to change the oil in his car and leave himself a note in the glove box that said something like, Oil changed 4/21/1996, used Pennzoil whatever, E.J.M. Those were his initials. He wrote his own initials on his notes, as if one day some stranger might sneak in and change his oil when he wasn’t looking. And then leave a note about it. My dad washed one of his cars so often that the paint on the trunk and hood started to wear off. He took it into the garage to ask what was wrong and they said, “You are actually washing the paint off of your car.”

My car never gets washed, unless my husband does it. It also never gets vacuumed, though I do occasionally empty all the iced tea bottle caps and random wrappers from the various compartments. I always appreciate it when my car gets cleaned, because it feels so fresh and nice to get into a clean car. But I never mind when it’s dirty. It just doesn’t bother me.

I barely even know what this is.

Springtime is rough on my car, due to potholes. I do try to avoid them but pretty much just shrug it off if I don’t. It is like I believe my cars are indestructible, or that whatever doesn’t kill them makes them stronger. My husband would tell you this is exactly how I feel but listen, I do realize that things just aren’t built to last anymore. My parents had the same toaster for my whole life. You know how many I’ve had? Like forty.

Anyway. I do love my used car, and I’m pretty sure my used car loves me. As a matter of fact just yesterday, my car told me via periodic incessant dinging that my purse should be wearing a seat belt. I mean, I ask you – is that considerate or what? I’m not one to name my cars or to anthropomorphize them in any way, but I will admit that right then I was pretty tempted.

By now you might be wondering what the point of all this is, and if so I wouldn’t blame you. So am I. I guess I’m just trying to say that there are two types of people in the world – those who enjoy time spent at the Midas or Goodyear or Jiffylube place, and those who prefer to get by on hope and optimism. What’s important is that we recognize which one we are and celebrate it. What’s even more important is that no matter where we are going, we do not text and drive on the way. Or play Pokémon Go or take selfies or investigate average salaries for your profession nationwide. That is really my point, here. Never mind if it doesn’t follow the rest of what I’ve written. Just go with it.

Thank you, safe travels, and Merry Christmas to all.

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  1. I have to tell you that my dad does the same with my cars!!…well when I lived at home. He keeps a calendar in his garage with his maintenance notes! Always left the notes in my glove box just incase the dealership needed to verify my car was maintained. It must be a LP thing…ha ha!

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