Retiring 7/23/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

With my Corvid-19 $1,200 relief check, I bought a $900 vehicle. It’s an SUV, probably one of the most practical vehicles I’ve ever owned, with a bluebook value of probably a third of what I paid. But, that’s okay. I intentionally purchased it from a dealer, so I knew it would be overpriced for the knowledge that it’s not a scam. In other words, I knew the title would be clean and clear, and I bought it for cash, so I have no car payments. Yay me.

Of course, if you buy a vehicle for $900, you can expect it to be less-than-perfect. I have to admit, I do enjoy driving this vehicle. I got her an oil change and complete tune-up for a couple of reasons. First, it puts me at a great starting point; I don’t know the last time she had a tune-up, so we’re starting new. Second, I knew that if there was anything else truly wrong with it, they would find it in the tune-up. Next, I got the low-beam headlights fixed, then the drive-side rear-view side mirror.

In case you haven’t picked up on it, the theme of this work is to make her (I named her “Corrine” since she was purchased with the Coronavirus relief funds) safer. Probably tomorrow, the last major work I wanted done to feel comfortable with her should occur. She’s getting new tires.

Well, yeah; what did you think I meant by “retiring”?

I’ve already taken her on several long-distance trips. Everything that I own, I now know can fit in two loads of my SUV. Sad, isn’t it?

In 1913, Henry Ford developed the assembly line, making the automobile affordable through mass production. America has been in love with automobiles ever since. I think that it represents freedom. Not to sound too cliché, the “freedom of the open road”. I have to admit, I love driving, especially when I’m upset or need to clear my head. For several months, I found myself without a vehicle. This was when I found myself on the public transit system. I learned to respect the bus and the people that ride it during that time, but I also realized just how limited public transportation is. You’re limited to their schedule, their routes, and even if you take longer trips on buses, trains or even planes, you’re still stuck with these same problems. These are great ways to go long distances (and, yes, I’ve ridden all three of the long distance at some point in my past), but the typical traveler will end up renting a vehicle on arrival. Having a vehicle allows you to jump on the road at any time, to any destination you so desire.

So, when I do get my new tires, how should I break them in? My readers know my father is in hospice, so trust me, I definitely need to clear my head. Actually, as it turns out, there is a fun little restaurant that’s part of a mid-west chain. We don’t have one in THIS city, per se, but as it turns out there is one about an hour from here. That might be a good trip to take, just long enough to let my mind wander.

This restaurant isn’t exactly fast food, nor is it exactly a nice sit-down place. It’s somewhere in between. Yes, eating there would be a treat, but honestly, the trip would be more about the journey than the destination. I can listen to good music and just let the miles roll away.

You’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I also use this time to talk with God, or to “pray” if you prefer. I’ve never bee the kind of person to kneel and fold my hands and pray; I just talk with God. It scares the hell out of people when they see me driving with my eyes closed, but that’s just a joke.

The season of summer trips is drawing to a close. Soon, I’ll have to start preparing for classes again (assuming they offer me another adjunct contract), and I’m still awaiting training for that other job that keeps getting pushed further and further back. Just a few weeks from now and classes will begin, and fall won’t be far behind. I guess if I’m going to make a trip it should be soon. It will be interesting to see how she handles in snow and ice. When I had her tuned up, they informed me that she didn’t have a drive shaft. This struck me as odd since, after all, I drove her to the shop. As it turns out, she is supposed to have all-wheel drive, but the front drive shaft is missing, so she’s rear-wheel drive only. I only wish I had a travel buddy.

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