Cars, music, and broken abandoned things

I was in a discussion recently with a great friend (whom I’ve yet to meet in person) who lives in Detroit. She’s an amazing artist and photographer, and through her, I’ve come to appreciate the forgotten city. When people think of Detroit, it’s often in relation to the breakdown of the automotive industry and the horrible recession/depression that destroyed so many livelihoods so quickly. I jokingly commented that I relate to Detroit, because the three things the city is known best for is cars, music, and broken abandoned things. I have a deep and abiding love of cars, music runs through my soul, and anyone who has read any of my past posts knows that I am a broken abandoned thing.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote “The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places.” I’ve not had the easiest life, but I know others who have had it much worse than me. I grew up with the knowledge that I would only ever be second best, behind my sister. It didn’t matter how well I did, how smart I was, how much I tried. I would never be the golden child. That was the first crack. I started dating and discovered that I am drawn to abusive men, either physically or mentally. More cracks. I’ve never been good enough, and because of this, I get cast to the wayside. I am a broken abandoned thing. I’m still waiting to find out if I’m stronger at the broken parts.

Here’s the irony: broken abandoned things can be beautiful. Looking at photographs of abandoned factories in Detroit, I see all the years of history and feel the pulsating energy that once filled those buildings. I don’t see rubble, I see memories. I try to look objectively at my life and see the beauty, and that’s a lot harder. Some breaks can’t be fixed. How do you get over hearing “you’re worthless” and “you’ll never be good enough” continuously without it slowly eating away at your soul?

My answer is a little 10 pound charcoal tabby and white cat affectionately known as Tiggy. He’s also a broken and abandoned thing. He was handed to me through a car window, and the woman (girl, really) who handed him to me promptly drove off, leaving a very scared cat in my arms. I took him home because I was still devastated by the loss of my previous cat Moo. Three days after bringing him home, he started peeing outside the litter box. That’s a common sign of a urinary tract infection, so I rushed him to the vet and it was confirmed. She also told me that during her scans, she discovered that he had a history of untreated urinary tract infections and that his bladder, kidneys, and urethra were terribly scarred and that he would be an expensive cat to keep because of these medical problems. She also told me that he had fractured ribs (and I recently discovered that he also had broken vertebrae in his back which have since fused and cause him to hunch over when he sits). At that point, he was literally a broken and abandoned thing.

I had a gaping wound in my heart from the loss of my Moo, so I told the vet that he was my cat, he needs me, and I would do whatever it takes to make things right for him. Thankfully, a proper diet has solved his UTI problems, his ribs healed on their own, and he loves me unconditionally. He’s no longer broken, and he’s definitely not abandoned, but that’s because the universe set out to put him in my path at the time I needed him most, and he needed me most.

I don’t think I’ll ever get past the feeling of being broken and abandoned. Too many harsh words, too many physical wounds, too many people walking out on me when I needed them most. Until then, I listen to a playlist of musicians who make me happy and I seek out cars that lift my soul. I try to remember that breaks can be repaired, but those repairs will always be imperfect. I try to accept that I am me, and to shut out those people who don’t like me or want to change me.

I look forward to finding happiness again someday. Lately, that’s been difficult. I disappeared from writing for a long while because my life had become so painful that metaphorically slashing my wrists to let the poison run out was too much to bear. The past month has been a roller coaster of emotions. The ascent so high I felt like I was flying, only to be followed by the let down that reminded me that I am a broken and abandoned thing who doesn’t deserve happiness. My depression is lying to me again. I do deserve happiness, I just need to remember that it comes from myself, not from anyone else. I’m sorting through a lot of emotions and dilemmas right now, and flowing words are how I function best. There will probably be many posts over the coming days, weeks, months, even possibly years. Many of those posts will conflict with each other as I argue with myself, and many will probably be repetitive. I apologize in advance if you’ve gotten this far.

Thing(s) that I am grateful for today: Driving around in a light drizzle with the top down and Matt Nathanson blasting on the radio. The soft, extra fluffy white belly that my cat loves to have rubbed. Dark chocolate M&Ms.

I meet some really crazy people at the car dealership

Disclaimer: If you don’t like cars, don’t bother reading this

 

Everyone who knows me knows I love cars. By extension, I also love car dealerships. It’s a great place to be surrounded by a lot of horsepower and talk with other people who like cars. Unfortunately, liking cars does not always equal knowing about cars. I took my car in to the dealership today for a free inspection, because the price was right and I know I’m coming up on 60,000 miles sometime in the next six months or so and I wanted to be prepared for whatever would need to be fixed.

There is a complimentary shuttle that will drop you off somewhere and pick you back up when your car is ready, but if I don’t need to be somewhere specific and I know that it’s only going to take a couple hours, I’ll usually wait at the dealership. There is always something going on that’s good for a laugh.

While I was waiting today, reading my book and minding my own business, an older woman came and sat in the seat right next to me. It always amuses me to see how people approach a waiting room. Most people try to sit with an empty chair between them and their neighbor, but some people don’t. This woman was obviously looking for someone to talk to, and I was the only one not using a laptop at the time. I was, again, reading a book. I had music playing on my mp3 player, going through earbuds that I was wearing.

As soon as she sat down, she started trying to start a conversation with me. She was rooting around in her purse and found a pair of sunglasses. She nudged me on the arm and said, “I thought I lost these last year. I put them somewhere and couldn’t find them. I’m so happy that I’ve found them now; they’re my favorite pair.” (I don’t know if she speaks with semi-colons, but that’s how it sounded in my head) I didn’t have my music up especially loud, so I could still hear her.

A few minutes pass and she nudges me again and points to the TV. “Is that Rosie O’Donnell?” she asked. I pulled one earbud out and turned to her and said, “I haven’t the faintest idea. I haven’t owned a TV in over 10 years and don’t go to movies.” She gaped at me and said, “Oh my, you poor thing. How can you survive without a television?” I replied to her with, “It’s really easy. You sell your old TV and then never buy a new one.” She then started rambling on about how awful it must be to not have anything to watch. I put my earbud back in and tried returning to my book.

A few more minutes pass and she nudges me yet again. This time, she wanted me to tell her what kind of car I drive. I answered her briefly and then got up to walk around the parts store to get away from her. I’m not a morning person normally, and I don’t like being disturbed when I’m reading.

As I’m walking around the parts department (as in parts and service) a sales rep walks up to me. He thrust his hand out and offered me his name. He asked me if I’m looking to buy a new or used car. I told him neither, I was getting my car inspected and the oil changed. So, of course, he asks me what kind of car I have. I tell him that I have a 350Z that I just purchased 11 months ago. He asks me what year and I tell him. He immediately responds with “Have you considered trading it in for a brand new 350Z?” I laughed and said “They don’t make new 350Zs. Nissan makes the 370Z now.” He responds back with, “Okay, so how about a new 370Z then?” I tell him that I don’t like the body on the 370Z and that I wouldn’t trade in my car regardless because I love my car and I’m right side up in the loan. There’s no purpose in trading in my car for a car that I don’t particularly like, especially since it would raise my car payment. He then starts gabbing on about how the 370Z has a wider body and deeper seats than the 350Z (both of which are true, neither of which are selling points for me). I tell him again that I don’t like the looks of the 370Z and that I’m happy with my car.

He immediately rebuts me with “How can you not like the new 370Z if you drive a 350Z?” I respond yet again with “I don’t like the body on the 370Z. It looks disproportionate to me and not nearly as graceful.” Once I had decided on purchasing a Z last year, I specifically went looking for a 2005 or 2006 because they have what I think is the sexiest body on one of the sexiest cars around. After about 5 minutes of going around in circles with the sales guy, he decides to change his approach. (Remember, I love car dealerships, and that includes toying with sales people who just don’t understand)

This time, he asks me, “How about a GT-R?” I told him that I loved the GT-R as a track car, but I wasn’t interested in owning one. He replies with, “Have you ever driven one? A test drive might change your mind.” I told him that yes, I had driven one before, but that I still didn’t see the upside to trading in my car. Of course, even if I wanted to trade in my car, I don’t have the cash or credit to be buying a $100,000 car. He then starts talking about how the GT-R has over 400 horsepower (technically true, but he’s seriously lowballing that) and that since I like fast cars, I should give it a try. I joked that I wouldn’t consider it because it doesn’t come in convertible. He immediately responded with “You could always get it cut to a convertible.” I laughed and said that I didn’t think the frame would like that too much, and that it would defeat the purpose of buying a supercar.

Just then, Kevin, my service advisor, came over to let me know that my car was ready. Car sales guy tried handing me his card and told me to call him when I was ready to upgrade my car. (gigglesnort) I told him that if I was going to buy another car, which I wasn’t, I would be talking to the sales guy who originally sold me my Z ride. At that point, sales guy finally gave up and looked for a new victim.

The technician brought my car around for me and parked it in front of the parts department. I went back to the service counter to pay for my oil change (that, unfortunately, was not free). When I walked back out to my (newly washed and waxed!) car, there was a couple standing right next to the driver’s door, so I asked them if I could get by. The wife (? girlfriend? sister?) turns to me and says, “We’re looking at this one. We’re just waiting on the salesman.” I told her that it wasn’t for sale, and that they should go look on the new or used sales lot if they’re looking to buy. She gave me an odd look as I opened the car, got in, and drove away.

I love car dealerships. I always meet the craziest people there.