I have a confession to make. Sometimes I when I get really mad at an inanimate object, I feel the need to yell at it. Except yelling at inanimate objects isn’t satisfying at all because all they do is continue to sit there and look at you. You might as well be singing it a lullaby. Example: Piece of paper cuts me. I swear. I glare at piece of paper. Like a really hard death stare glare, but all it does is continue to sit there. I suck on my bleeding finger hoping it will realize what a dick it is for cutting me, but it still just sits there. I want to crumble it up for its betrayal, but I actually need that piece of paper for work. So what I need is something to take my frustration out on. Sometimes this is Cleverbot.
Me: A piece of paper just cut me!
Cleverbot: No, you are the piece of software.
Cleverbot isn’t always the best outlet though, which leads me to my confession.
My confession is, sometimes when I get really mad at an object, I try to find a person to take it out on. I don’t really have an excuse for this, except it’s more satisfying to yell at something that can hear you. The last time I was guilty of this was last week. Now, the husband and I have two cars – one is a nice new shiny car and the other car is what we lovingly call our drunk car.
Let me clarify by saying that we never drink and drive. The “drunk car” got its name from a story from a friend in Texas. Apparently in Texas a person has two kinds of cars – one that they can drive and show off in and one that’s a junker that they take to the bar and back, hence, drunk car.
Our drunk car mainly gets this label because it’s old (the husband and I fight over whether it’s a ’95 or a 96′ Ford Taurus, but for the purpose of this story it doesn’t really matter). The Taurus was probably once a lovely shade of forest green, but is now some sort of gray green that more closely resembles one of those green bathtubs people were fond of in the ’60s and ’70s. The bumper has various holes in it from its previous owner where spiders now make their home. The spiders also like to hang out on the side view mirrors. As far as I can tell, this is the only car I’ve seen that has a continual spider infestation problem. Our new shiny car, that parks in the same place, never gets spiders, but drunk car collects them like they’re drink tokens. Despite the spider problem, drunk car does have a few things going for it. Namely, the front bench seat. I’ve never actually gotten six people in the car, but it’s my dream to one day do so because it has the ability and it seems a shame to let a potential like that go unused. It also has a tape player that will only play one side of the tapes and a weird oily residue on the inside of the windows that I can’t get rid of and can only assume is nicotine. The car has a very charming smell, I’m told.
I don’t really mind driving drunk car that much. Sometimes it’s refreshing to be able to park anywhere and not really worry about your car getting dinged because some asshole decided to park over the line. Drunk car is refreshingly unpretentious.
Last week I drove drunk car to the Bart (subway) station like normal. When I got back after work, I hopped in drunk car and turned the key. The lights came on for a second, and then immediately went dead again. When I tried the key again, nothing at all happened. Since I was supposed to be going to my piano lesson immediately after work, I started to panic. I was in some sort of denial about the car being dead, so I kept trying to restart it, pleading with drunk car to just give me a break this once.
It didn’t start, so I did what everyone does in a mini-crisis. I called my spouse.
Me: The car isn’t starting.
Me: The car! It’s not starting, and I have to be at my lesson. Where are you?!
Husband: Driving, I’m just leaving the city.
Me: What? How can you be just leaving? You told me you were going in the afternoon.
Husband: Well, I did. I’m on my way home.
At this point, I get really frustrated because it’s clear the husband can’t rescue me on time. I was stuck alone with drunk car.
Me: What am I supposed to do?! The car won’t start and you’re not home! You said you were going to be home!
Husband: I’m sorry, I don’t know what to tell you.
Me: [displacing my frustration with inanimate object (drunk car) onto responsive human (husband) You never communicate! AHHHH!
Husband: I’m sorry.
Me: I have to go. My car is broken! [I suddenly resent my willingness to drive drunk car, despite all our good times together.]
At this point, I’m at a loss for what to do. It’s dark and I’m still boxed in by cars, so getting a jump seems unlikely. Waiting for a tow truck seems even more unsavory. I decide to roll up my metaphoric sleeves and pop the hood, despite really not knowing anything about cars. It seems like the productive thing to do though. Popping the hood was a bit of an ordeal, since the spider infestation is not limited to the holes and side view mirrors. I use my phone to find a safe place to get my finger in to pull the latch.
I get the hood opened and feel a little accomplished. I note that drunk car has a V6 engine. This seems like a good thing to tell someone that can actually fix it. I look around the parking lot to see if anyone has decided to take pity on me yet. No one. I look back to the engine and glare at the battery. No doubt it’s the culprit, but what do I do. I shake the rubber protected wires that connect to the battery. I think I maybe see a spark, but I’m not sure. I close the hood, satisfied that I did something.
I get back in drunk car, crooning to it softly. Don’t you just love driving, drunk car? Isn’t it your most favorite thing ever? Remember that one time when you started and we could go someplace? Wasn’t that nice? I turn the key in the ignition, and drunk car flares to life. The clock on the dash says 00:01 and my radio stations are erased, but it works.
I feel relief, and then guilt. I call the husband back.
Me: [timidly] So, uh, I got the car started.
Husband: Oh, ok.
Me: Uh, sorry I yelled at you.
Husband: It’s ok.
Me: No, I’m really sorry. I was just annoyed at the car.
Husband: It’s ok, I know.
Actually, I was sort of annoyed with him for not being more annoyed with me, but maybe he has better releases for his frustration than me.