Nerd in Transition: My Metaphor Blog
About a week and a half ago my car stopped running. It just stopped. There was no sputtering, no gradual slow down, no shaking, the car made it to the top of the mountain that I park it on and stopped right in the middle of the road blocking the only exit and entrance for the entire neighborhood.
In all fairness the car had tried to warn me of it’s impending end, yet I had of course chosen to push it onward. For a few months now it’s been slowly sucking the anti-freeze from where it is suppose to go and redirecting it into some unknown and incorrect location in the engine. Make no mistake, this is not a leak. Something else is happening and I don’t know what it is. What I do know is what once was a slow process has sped up and it’s causing any anti-freeze or water I dump in the engine to be misdirected in under a mile which in turn makes the engine overheat. Overheating can lead to cracked radiators,. casket heads, or the abrupt stop and shut down on top of a mountain, blocking a roadway at 4 in the afternoon.
Parking can be tricky in my neighborhood, most often one has to back into a spot. I was in no position to get the car nudged up against the wall. Thankfully on this rare occasion a prime spot was open in front of a house. With the help of some neighbors and a pizza delivery guy we pushed my aging volvo sedan into place. That heavy grey beast has sat in that juicy parking spot for the past week and a half, annoying the guy who always hogs that location and being an eyesore for me to glare down at from my perch. What am I going to do about this vehicle?
One clever friend of mine reminded me that I live in Southern California and really don’t need anti-freeze. As a proud Michigan girl with a modicum of car knowledge, I reminded him that anti-freeze and engine coolant are the same thing and I do indeed need this precious fluid.
“Oh,” he said “I guess you can tell I don’t know much about cars.”
“That’s okay, sweetie. Your very pretty.” I replied.
Immediately I tried to look on the bright side. I work from home, so no commute worries, except that I am suppose to meet with the company’s financial planner in Santa Monica next week. Shit, better reschedule that for December. I have been wanting a new road bike and this is a perfect excuse to purchase one. I did just that, haven’t ridden it in the week that I’ve had it. Living close to downtown means easier bus and train connections. Of course LA’s public transportation is some of the worst in the world and Saturday I missed a bus leaving me out of fun activities on the west side.
There is a park within walking distance for the dogs and the surrounding neighborhood isn’t so bad, during the day, on the main streets. I’ve been moaning about my weight for a year now, so this forced walking and bike riding will be great for me. In fact the first day I went out with the dogs I felt chipper, excited almost, being forced to climb a mountain to get home is gonna be awesome for my legs and butt. By the end of the week I’d had enough of that damn mountain.
I grant you I have a great view from my mountain perch but in order to enjoy it I have to reach my personal summit. The only way to get high up a mountain is to work your way up. When I return from my walks I have to face a slope starting on the main street, Broadway, before I get near my street. Once I make the turn onto my street that slope turns into a steep climb, about halfway up it gets even steeper, just in case you were getting at all optimistic about nearing the end. Then of course there are the stairs, 47 of them to my front door. I have walked in every direction to and from that park, the laundromat, various stores, etc. and no matter which way I go the mountain is always there. Thanks to my crappy lemon of a car I am now actively living out a metaphor.
Tonight I am putting the bike to test. I am riding from my home in Lincoln Heights all the way to a workout center in Silverlake. It will be a good test for road conditions and amount of time needed to get from here to there. Figuring this out will help establish a pattern where-by I can create a habit. I have always loved riding bikes, even went to a summer camp once where all we did was go on long rides each day. I just have to attach some baskets, a blinking light or two, map out my route and hit the road.
Of course when I return hot and tired the mountain will still be there. My final test in determination. At the top of the mountain is my cozy house, inside are two dogs waiting to go crazy when I walk in the door. There is food up there and water. At the bottom is a city thriving with fun and excitement. Opportunity awaits, calling out from Hollywood, the Valley, the Beaches, Downtown, Sliverlake and Echo Park. Atwater Village is nearby and it houses my favorite theatre company. I can get there and I can get home. I just have to deal with the mountain. No matter which way I go, the mountain is always there.
featured image credit: Vélocia