Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Zoemobile is sick :-(

Well, the Zoemobile has had a "check engine" light on for almost two weeks now, which means it's something other than a loose gas cap. This is unfortunate, as the Zoemobile is an integral part of our lives and is generally very greatly missed when out of commission.

She's at 105,000 miles though, and hasn't skipped a beat thus far, so she's worth the $67 diagnostic check (which is really a big rip-off according to M, who says that the check is a matter of plugging a PDA-like gadget into the car and seeing what it says is wrong).

At first I was quite distraught at the idea of not having my car today. I mean, my car is like an extension of me at this point. It's so gosh-darned reliable (thank you Honda!) that I never even have to think about it. I get in, turn it on and go. And go and go and go. It's driven all over the place in the last couple weeks getting ready for Christmas. I love my car. Love love love it. Love it so much why don't I marry it (to quote my dear friend Saara).

There are many reasons why I love the Zoemobile. I mean, beyond that whole reliable and safe and gets good gas mileage stuff. It's comfortable. It's powerful (we sprung for the V6 baby!). It's loaded with amenities (digital climate control, moon-roof, etc.). And the best part? It's now almost 8 years old with 105,000 miles, which means that even though it looks good from a distance it's got loads of little dings and chips and scrapes, so I'm able to relax and not worry about getting new dings and chips and scrapes. The worst part about buying a new car, except for the hefty monthly payments, is that you're so anal retentive about your new baby you get seriously torqued when someone door dings you at the grocery store. I don't have to worry about that any more. My car has character.

I love the Zoemobile because it's carted us all over the place. We've taken it to Ohio. Twice. It's gone to Starved Rock State Park up near Chicago, and brought us back soaking wet after we got caught hiking in a rain storm (we had to bail water off the leather seats upon arrival in the Lou). It took us to Chicago for my birthday years ago, so M could treat me to the Ansel Adams at 100 exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art. It's been to Columbia, Missouri a time or two, and lots of places in between and the opposite direction.

And I love it because it's the car that brought Zozo home (hence becoming the Zoemobile) from the hospital after she was born.

Through all this, the only times the Zoemobile has ever been out of commission is when she's needed her consumables replenished or replaced (oil, brakes, tires, etc.).

So, I was a bit forlorn when the Huey's Courtesy Shuttle drove me away from the service bay, leaving my little Zoemobile behind. I'm worried about the car, but I'm also worried about myself. I'm one of those control-freak people (I know, hard to believe) who wigs out every time she doesn't have a car. Car-pooling with M didn't work because of that particular idiosyncrasy of mine. I can't stand feeling like I'm "stranded."

I sat in the Courtesy Shuttle and started playing The Checklist Game/What if? in my mind. "What's in the car I might need? Stroller. Pack 'n play. Car seat. Two Rams hats that were the give-away from the Monday night game two weeks ago. My jean jacket. Scarf. My kick-ass tripod. Oh no...there's a big pile of dirty tissues on the driver's side floorboard from when I mopped up the rain off the door after talking to Mom yesterday morning...gross! I can't believe I forgot to throw them away before turning the car in! How embarrassing!"

That's Part I. Part II consists of "What if the car doesn't get done today? What if we need to drive Zozo somewhere and we don't have the car seat? Will we need the stroller before the car is done? The pack 'n play? What if it's a really serious problem and we have to shell out major amounts of money to fix it? What if they ask me to run and get lunch today and I have to say no because my car is in the shop? What if I have a tripod emergency and can't get to it because it's in the trunk of my car that is in the shop?"

Seriously. Who has tripod emergencies? No one I know. Well, maybe a professional photographer, which I most decidedly am not. Haven't used the tripod in a couple weeks, and have no plans to in the immediate future, but here I am thinking, "What if I need my tripod?"

Then I decided to take a few deep breaths, lean back, and look at the houses going by. I saw houses I haven't seen before, all decorated for Christmas with pretty wreaths and sparkly lights. I saw several scenes I'd like to go back and shoot (with or without a tripod). I decided that I would take this chance of being without the Zoemobile to just catch my breath and relax. After all, I'm not going anywhere any time soon.

Well, at least before 3:30 when the Zoemobile is supposed to be done.


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