I am a fiberglass body in need of solid struts. I’m held together with Bondo, and a hundred-dollar paint job from Earl Sheib. I cruise around all year long in my winter rims, and I keep telling myself I can get ten more miles out of my donut-spare if I just blow-off going out to do anything. My passenger-side mirror is busted, my clock is an hour and eight minutes off, and over the last 5 years I haven’t found a good enough reason to fix my air conditioning.
I shimmy, I stall, I cough & sputter. I’m a squirrelly, roll-over hazard. I might explode if you hit me from behind. They make laws to protect you from me in case I turn out to be a lemon because of all the times I’ve been wrecked.
I’ve got a lot of highway miles, and a few previous owners. I’m sure parts of me need to be rebuilt. I’ve broken down at some inopportune times. And there’s nothing I like better than being parked at home.
A strut is important. A skeleton would be far more vulnerable were it missing a cranium, or a fibula, or a spine. Life is nothing but impacts. If you’re not a metallurgist yourself, you better hope one falls in love with you.
And if you can find a local mechanic you can trust, you’re a lucky mothertrucker.
Of course, I suppose you could always marry into the Riddell family and hope your polymer-plastic life sustains you, but with all those unnatural chemical influences so close to your mind, how would you be able to tell?
Life is too messy to be babied.
I don’t ride my brakes, I don’t abuse my clutch, and I change my oil every four thousand miles, because… well, it’s the least I can do. If I’ve learned anything about automotive metaphors, it’s that you don’t mess around with oil changes, and you don’t let the tank get below one-third full before you get more fuel.
My problem is rust. Time, oxidation, and the microscopic fractures which stay well-hidden until it’s too late to fix them. I’ve got a sagging front end and a wide back seat, but I don’t look too bad on those rare occasions when I’m all washed, and waxed, and detailed. Most of the time, though, I’m just covered in crumbs & stains, and I smell a little bit funky.
I gotta tell ya, though… man, I can remember a time when candy-apple red really was my color.