Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Worst-case scenario

When the oil leak was first discovered in my car a couple weeks ago the outcome I dreaded most was not an expensive repair, specifically, nor even the need to find a new car, but a scenario that dragged on for weeks of waiting without a place to live, false diagnoses, and struggling to find somebody in Denver who knows how to take apart a Toyota carburetor. This was the worst thing I could imagine, the last thing I wanted to happen. Of course, this is now what is happening.

And of course, it's not really the worst thing that could happen to me. I am in good health, my family and friends are well, and I have yet to be the victim of a theft or assault, or even a really bad joke. Unless you count the past couple weeks, I mean... the car troubles are only one source of misfortune, but I don't think it's prudent to get into all the details at this time. I have simply found myself at the end of a string of misfortunes.

My car was rendered into a drivable state by the 2nd mechanic I took it to, and so, having basically worn out the kind friend who took me in for 2 days and ended up having me for 2 weeks, I determined I'd return to camping for a little while. Not the most comfortable thing in the world now that temperatures are below freezing some nights, but with my 0 degree bag I'm not exactly in danger of hypothermia, just a certain amount of tossing and turning. Anyway, it's free, and with more car expenses on the horizon, saving money has become even more important to me.

However, as I drove around yesterday checking out places to camp, the car became more and more sluggish, until I couldn't get it to top 15 mph. So I gave up and had it towed to the garage of a Toyota expert whose name had been passed to me. He is the 5th mechanic. I know he can't take a look at it for a few days and, if the repairs are affordable, won't be able to get them in until the following week at least. Spent last night with friends who don't really have room for me, and at the moment am, phone in hand, proceeding through the (very short) list of other people I know in the Denver area.

Temporarily carless, homeless and jobless, which is not a situation I've ever found myself in, it's kind of a struggle for me to keep in mind the fact that I am not particularly down and out, comparatively speaking. I am not ill, broke, saddled with debt or children, in jail, or addicted to anything, just enough of a control freak to be as stressed out as if I did have those problems... the fact that it's easier for me to endure camping in the snow than to endure asking a friend for couch space is kind of a silly issue, but what can I say? I am perhaps too attached to the goal of self-reliance. If the goal I'd had in mind all this time were, say, to become a more flexible person, then I could pass all of these travails off as fodder for the crusade.

Another excellent goal would have been "to be very comfortable with waiting and uncertainty." (Of course, it is not too late to adopt either of these. My forebrain is quite aware that life is about learning how to let go of control, not learning how to control everything; it's the other bits of me that have a problem recognizing this.)

Anyway. Whether the Toyota is fixable or I must buy a new car, my travel money will be wiped out, so this is the end of the travel blogging (for this year!). My current "adventures" don't have quite the same photo-readiness, but I will continue to blog on them. I did a funny thing and attached some more photos from last month to the previous blog entry, instead of writing a new one, so if you've already read it, go through it again to see the new photos.

Now, back to finding a place to sleep tonight.

1 comment:

Mom said...

As I read this I know that you are staying with your cousin, Kate, my brother Bill's daughter, who lives in Denver.

As Mike says "talk about good luck - to be stranded in a city where you just happen to have a first cousin living."

Hope this changes the string of misfortunes and sets you off on a positive path...