I have, what can only be described at best, a slightly unhealthy relationship with my car.
"Wait. What? Did she say a slightly unhealthy relationship with her car?"
Yes, that's exactly what I said. Doesn't mean it that I love it as a woman would love a man, but that so much of my own safety and mental health is dependent on being able to go somewhere when I need to without having other people involved. That when my car isn't running right, or safely, I get freaked out. Most people have the brakes fail, and they don't start to hyperventilate or have a panic attack knowing they can't go somewhere. Well unless they fail while they are driving the car, then, that can be a reason for panic. For me, for a while, something would go wrong and I'd be on the verge of a small nervous breakdown. I maybe depend on my car a bit more than is healthy, but when you've been through what I have, it's kinda way more than just a way to get from point a to b. Because of many of my existing issues, I cannot ride buses or trains really, and of course the having to leave hours of extra time to fit around the bus schedules and so forth? No, we are so not going there. Not waiting on the side of the street, not being trapped on a moving vehicle with people I don't know, etc, etc, etcetera . . . NO.
So without a car, I'm trapped. God forbid all heal breaks lose and I can't get in my car and run. I've slept in it, lived out of it, and gone from one end of the country to the other, more than once in it. Because I certainly cannot fly. Oh yeah, loud, noisy, open, enclosed space full of people? then get crammed with hundreds of other people into a tin can and flung unceremoniously across the sky to do a controlled crash somewhere else why OTHER tin cars full of people are being flung about, by ATCs that can't walk and chew gum at the same time? Ever heard of a runway incursion? Scary stuff that. All the strangers that can hurt me? All the germs and bacteria growing? Airports, planes, inursions = DEATH TRAP! No, I'm not Monk's sister, but I can kinda see what he's saying and dealing with. Back to planes, mind you I nearly actually died in one once. I'm a survivor of flight 232, you know the plane that went down in a corn field? I survived because at the last second I didn't get on it. I had a feeling. I'm not even kidding.
So anyway, my car is way more than a means of getting around, it's a lifeline. It's even been a home. At different points in my life I've been profoundly homeless. Once when I only had a bicycle, and the other with my car. My car has way more survival stuff in it than most "normal" folks. I have a big tent, cooler, grill, blankets (lots) and an inflatable airmattress. Plus lots of other supplies in case, God forbid, I wind up seriously homeless again. If I had to, I could vanish up to the mountains and never be seen or heard from again. All I need now are some decent solar cells just in case. While yes, I could canibalize parts of the car to make a steam powered generator, I'd prefer not to if it came down to it.
Anyway, for a while now, part of my mental and emotional "health" has depended on my car. I know, it's just a car. Yeah, to most people. Not to me. So I'm very careful with it, making sure it stays legal and in good condition. When it starts making funny noises, I start to worry, when, like it did a few months back it suddenly starts stalling, not running on all cylinders, can't go over 30 miles per hour, I start to seriously panic. I mean panic attack level, not just oh crap now what. Because fixing a car - or I should say having it fixed, can be horrifically expensive. Especially if you don't have the money for it. So while I hate the extra moeny for Triple A plus, the alternative is constant white nuckle flight as my Dad used to call it. The whole living in fear of something going wrong, and having the car stuck somewhere. Or having it taken from me, because I can't afford to have it towed and they have to get it off the road or whatever. Not being able to fix it, etc.
So I'm way more "involved" with my car than most people. Because I have to be. I cannot just take it for granted and buy another if this one is beyond repair. Do I wish it was bigger, well yes and no. Be nice if it was more comfortable to sleep in, you know, like a Van maybe, but I get awesome mileage in this one and it's easy to tuck it in somewhere out of the way. Plus it's been really good to me, and despite being ten years old, has not been (touching wood as she says this) a hole in the pavement into which I throw money.
So yeah, I love my car. We take care of each other.