Last night my car stopped shifting gears. It’s very hard to go places when you’re stuck in first or second gear. If I had a manual shift car, I’d think this was a slipping clutch. But I don’t have a clutch, just a mysterious box where gears float around in viscous fluid.
So this morning, bright and early, I got out my owners manual and figured out how to check the transmission fluid only to find that the fluid is fine. So I called my car guy only to hear that he thinks it’s electrical (which he doesn’t do) and he’s full anyway. But he gave me the name of another guy nearby whom he trusts and who will be able to do this type of thing. So I called the second guy and was able to drop off my car. Unfortunately, I was so stressed out and generally disheartened by this time that an hour long walk beside a highway seemed far preferable to asking for a ride. I’m not quite sure why that was… but there was no way I could force myself to ask for a ride.
So I set off on my highway adventure, thankful I’d worn comfy shoes. It’s funny what you notice about the outskirts of your own town when you take it at 4 miles per hour rather than 55. It forces you to stop and smell the roses that would be there if a highway weren’t belching exhaust fumes. I saw little shops that I’ve never noticed before, and I particularly noticed that the roofing and siding shops looked like they’re doing pretty well after the summer hail storm that tore up the town. I’ve never seen little shops look quite that well groomed before.
I also found a roll of art paper that must have flown out of a passing car and landed among the crushed beer cans, soda bottles, and cigarettes. Inside was printed with a reproduction of coastal scene originally done in pastels or colored pencils.
Trudging along, carrying my work bag, purse, and now a large roll of art paper, I also passed the veterans’ memorial that I’ve never walked through before. It was completed last year, but it’s in an out-of-the-way part of town. No sidewalks lead to it, and only the bike trail passes nearby.
Just before arriving at work I stopped in at the local coffee shop and got a large hot chocolate. Mmmmm.
So, it was actually a fairly pleasant morning, supremely peaceful and quiet. Now, if I can just hold on to the feeling of peace right through the moment where they tell me that my transmission is shot, it’ll cost a bazillion dollars to fix.
[Update: They called. It's shot. It costs a bazillion dollars. And they can't get it fixed for a week. No more peace is left.]