Friday, January 6, 2012

His Car

I was pondering the concepts of property and being property.  At first I was thinking about myself.  Then I started thinking about his car.

I'm debating on going into detail about his car.  I'd love to paint you a perfect picture of it, but I'm always unsure about issues of privacy and identity.  I'll give the details that I can.

It's older, between 15-20 years old or so.  Black.  Mustang.  It was bought used.  It had never been kept inside and the paint job had already gone to shit by the time he bought it.  It has still never been kept inside, or even covered, and the poor thing has a handful of rust spots (although it's doing rather well given the humid northwest climate).  When it was acquired, it had already been in an accident.  The airbags are still missing as he never replaced them.  Master very carefully found new pieces for it - new side fenders, front bumper, among other bits that needed replacing - and repositioned and aligned them by hand soon after the purchase.  I'm sure there is other work he did with it, but I wouldn't know enough to comment on it.  Aside from the missing airbags, you wouldn't know it'd been in a wreck just by looking at it.  Within the last year, someone backed into the left side fender while he was parallel parked.  No note or accountability - just gone.  He hammered it out as best he could with only a crowbar to work with... but it still looks a bit like paper that someone crumpled up and tried to smooth out again.  It needs another side fender.

Inside, it has a few issues too.  The air conditioner is broken and has never worked - not vital for driving and too costly to replace.  The radio has loose wires all over the place that make it mostly unusable.  It decides when the music will stop and start, or if there will be music at all.  The wires around the battery are corroded and wrapped in electrical tape.  The intake manifold on the engine has had to be replaced more than once.  The check engine light clicks on and off occasionally - deciding that it's fixed itself by the time anyone gets out there to check the codes and deciding there is a problem whenever one needs to drive more than 20 miles.  Two doors.  Bucket seats.  It's kind of a nightmare when my back is being unfriendly to me (or when I have cracked ribs :P).

I can't tell if he has any attachment to that car or not, to be totally honest.  He's owned it at least 4 or 5 years.  I tease the poor thing.  I call it a hunk of junk, scrap metal, piece of shit... But the truth is, I really love that car.  When I moved to Oregon for school, he followed me up in that car - he drove 900 miles in that thing in one day just to see me all the sooner.  That thing has done pretty well, especially considering I've only ever seen him change the oil twice (maybe he's done it more without my knowledge, I don't know)... It's given its all.  I'm grateful to it, in all honesty.  And I'll be sad the day is has to go (as all things someday must).

Bringing this back to me - sometimes, I relate to that car.  I've done pretty well for myself too, given the circumstances.  But I'm not perfect.  I don't always run like I'm supposed to.  I'm a little beat up and have some permanent scarring, both inside and out (I don't care to address either variety of scar in this post).  I tease myself too... It's beyond teasing, really.  The things I say and do to myself are outright cruel.  I'd never let anyone talk that way to someone I love.  I don't know why I tolerate it from myself.

There are times when he tries to push a button on me, turn on the radio perhaps... and I either can't or simply won't.  And he'll pull over and rip out the stereo and fuck with it until it does what it wants.  ... That can be painful, sometimes.  Especially if it was something I felt fell into the "can't" category.  It's genuinely difficult to want to do something and to find myself incapable - I hate to disappoint him.  Maybe after that the check engine light pops on, or a SMOG test gets failed... I'm tired.  I don't feel like it, and my fucking intake manifold is leaking (yet AGAIN, he would say).  It hurts when one failing has a domino effect like that.  Sometimes I want to say "It's not my fault!  You're the one who didn't change the oil for 12 months" or "You're the one who let the battery cables corrode".

...Is there truth in that?  I find myself back and forth on this issue.  A lot.  I'd like to say that a slave needs to be able to manage hirself (for those unfamiliar, "hir" is a gender neutral combo of "him" and "her" as I am too lazy to write both) and that there must be some things a slave can be held accountable for in their behavior or self-regulation.  But I often wonder how true that is if a slave has given over themselves entirely to a master.  How much agency can you really have at the end of the day?  This argument has negative aspect of placing all the responsibility on the master and, therefore, one risks blaming the master for any issues that arise.  Any.  Which is why, again, I'd like to say a slave has to be responsible for something at some point... but really - how true is that?

I usually just blame myself for it.  I have short comings.  I can't be perfect, I am human after al-... or does a slave give up the right to personhood by definition as well?  I honestly don't know.  Some would claim that, others wouldn't.  I'd like to say that I'm still human - but others would say that makes me "untwue". I don't really care about those so much.  But I catch myself wondering about this problem too.

There isn't.. any particular thing that got me thinking about all this.  I'm not in crisis nor am I currently struggling *knocks on wood*.  I just get to thinking sometimes and things like this come out.  I'm sorry this metaphor is so long, winding, and poorly put together.

There is... one more thing though.

That car tries hard.  Pushing 900 miles in day.  Driving quite solidly even when something is leaking or not operating as it should.  It fucking tries.  And so do I.  Maybe that's all that matters at the end of the day.  I would like to think so.  I do believe that short comings, imperfections, all of those things that make us want to spit acid at ourselves... don't matter.  What does matter is the effort and loyalty that goes in.  I don't care if my oil never gets changed... I might not like it, but I'll damn well do my best to start up and take him wherever he might need or want to go.

The nagging fear I have is that one day he'll toss me away like he'll have to eventually toss that car.  I know he won't, he has reassured me as much... but sometimes I can't help but wonder if he'll tire of having to maintain me, bothersome as I can occasionally be.  He has no attachment to his car that I'm really aware of (I think I "care" more about it than he does, in that sense) but he is attached to me... Right?  At any rate, I'll work to both live up to and do better than that old Mustang.

Pile of crap as you may be, car... thanks for giving me inspiration.


P.S. - On an unrelated note, I have ALWAYS anthropomorphized cars.  Even before I saw this film as a kid (this song is still awesome lol):

Random youtube comment: "I watched this as a kid and it disturbed me. i didn't realize till later that the real world actually treats people like this."  Something extra to ponder, I suppose...

1 comment:

  1. I think most s-types would agree with this post. It's never easy. Sometimes you have to give more than you think is possible. But they (the d-types) see something we don't and we have to trust that they know best.

    It honestly made me think of my previous Owner. I miss the moments where he pushed and tested me. Dragged out of me so much and then went back for more.

    It really is amazing when you sit back and look at all it means to live this life. You can't go in half way. It's definitely an all or nothing situation.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about. :)