I knew in the early days of last week that something wasn’t quite right with my car as the engine was no longer purring like a contended cat. As it didn’t sound too bad and as it was serviced recently and as no warning light was lit on the dashboard, I put the out of tune engine hum to the back of mind and drove on. However by Thursday evening the noise from the engine had morphed into a ominous rattle.
I had little choice but to bring my car to a garage on Friday. The garage guys uttered some inauspicious phrases as the peered at the engine. Now, I have as much understanding of the inner workings of the internal combustion engine as I have of the finer points of Swahili grammar. But my understanding of ‘could cause damage that might cost thousands to repair’ if I continued to drive it was immediate and total. The water tank was in need of replacement and as a new one wouldn’t arrive until Monday or Tuesday I went home car-less.
Good heavens to Murgatroyd how was I to survive for days sans my thirsty petrol-drinking companion? Very well as it happened. I used a taxi on Friday evening but as everything else I had planned to do at the weekend could wait until another time I decided to stay at home on Saturday and Sunday.
Thankfully my weekend without a car coincided with some glorious weather. Glorious in Irish meteorological terms translates as: blue skies, sunshine but still chilly. I am also lucky that I live close to the sea, so I walked often by it and watched: boats bobbing up and down; fishermen casting; children playing; dogs dashing around; and the water rippling to and from the distant blue horizon.
I had plenty of time to hover, dust and tackle the ironing pile and I felt saintly for doing so. I read the papers at my leisure. With time on my hands I took more notice of my surroundings and often gazed up at the ever-changing sky. And I even dead-headed my house plants.
Ah yes, those life lessons. They were:
- That it feels good to detach myself from something, such as my car, that I think I cannot live without and discover that yes I can. Ok, I admit I might find it difficult long-term but who knows all things are possible.
- There are always alternatives. I have a couple of decisions to make and in much the same way that there are many alternatives to car travel so too, I realized, these decisions aren’t necessarily a simple either/or.
I am still without car, still surviving and still sane but I confess I am looking forward to collecting it on Wednesday.