Sunday, September 19, 2010
My annual physical last week made me wish I were more like my Toyota.
Seems no matter what I do to it, that car just runs and runs and runs (a record I just undoubtedly jinxed by putting my braggadocio in print).
Sure, I give it an oil change every who-knows-how-many miles; gas and washer fluid, now and again. I’ll put air in its tires when someone on the street mentions they’re looking a bit deflated. Vacuum the interior twice a year. (Not this year, however. Or last. Suffice it to say, you don’t want to carpool with me.)
When the exterior gets dinged or scratched … or mauled (as I still haven’t mastered the art of backing out of the garage), I make like the Beatles and let it be.
Generally, I ignore the heck out of my 8-year-old Highlander and, still, it takes me wherever I want to go.
This middle-aged, mid-sized sedan of a body? It’s still getting around, but it sure takes a lot of maintenance these days.
My chassis must be cared for at all times. Massive amounts of moisturizer are required. If not, scales appear on my legs and arms, dry patches behind the knee and on the upper thigh. (Think chipping paint.) This should be done daily, preferably beginning well before the age of 50, as I have regretfully discovered.
Dents, dings, discolorations and fibers are appearing in places that were once smooth and flawless. And because I refuse to spend a fortune getting sanded, buffed and waxed, it will get worse before it … no, it will never get better. Again, a little preventative maintenance would’ve been prudent.
And, speaking of deflation, EVERYTHING has deflated, except for the bags under my eyes, from the back to the front end. I look in the mirror naked and see a low-rider where there once was a dragster.
This whole rust bucket can go out of alignment at any time. Bend over to pick a dime off the street (because who wants to risk traction for a nickel?) and I could end up walking around like Quasimodo for weeks. I try exercising the recommended five times a week (note the judicious use of the word “try”) and the occasional yoga date with Rodney Yee, but, the truth is, one false move on the porch swing could send me to the chiropractor.
That’s not to mention everything that must be put in the tank to keep this 54-year-old engine out of the shop: fish oil capsules, baby aspirin, every vitamin in the alphabet, blood pressure medication, calcium tablets, hormone supplements, CoQ10, antihistamines, decongestants, steel cut oats, pomegranate, almonds, dark chocolate, olive oil, salmon, whole grains, elderberry concentrate, local honey, red wine, Ambien.
My headlights (settle down, everyone — I mean eyes) are beginning to dim. Not because I doze off all the time (Ambien can cause daytime drowsiness), but because the lids are drooping like Huckleberry Hound. It used to a morning-only problem. Now I’m lucky if I can get them open by dinnertime to eat my green, leafy vegetables. As for driving at night? Why even bother with headlights? I can’t see a thing, anyway. (Calling all rutting deer: you’ve been warned.)
Then there’s the grill, meaning my teeth . They’re starting to tarnish to the point where I almost signed up for a teeth whitening treatment at a mall kiosk. (That is, until I thought, “Wait a minute! I’m signing up for a teeth whitening treatment at a mall kiosk?!”)
Maybe if I had taken better care of this Tin Lizzie all along, as opposed to waiting for the odometer to turn over, I’d be a little more mint.
And, that’s the take-away, all you young drivers out there. Try as you might, you can’t trade yourself in for a newer model at a scratch-and-dent sale.
— Cathy Hamilton is a 54-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author. She can be reached at 832-6319.