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Coming out of a rough week

Last Sunday I drove to Columbia to drop my boy off at his mother’s and my 1996 Ford 150 began making a horrible racket. I didn’t even turn the engine off for fear it wouldn’t start again (it’s been increasingly hesistant to do so) and drove back trying to convince myself to unclench at least some of my muscles, since my state of tension wasn’t likely to help the truck make it anyway.

In this I am sorry to say my rationality was indifferently successful; as humans we have hyperactive agency assigners in our brains, and my subconscious was utterly convinced that the truck would only hold its crap together if I used the sympathetic magic of tensing all my muscles to the point of popping an unimportant blood vessel or two. I’ve had this truck 15 years, just slightly longer than I’ve had my son (who actually used to call me “Daddy with the green truck” when he wanted to distinguish me from his stepfather). When I drove it it didn’t completely register as a separate object from my body any more.

A believer would say the magic worked; I got home. It even started up the next day.

That was, of course, with more tension and noise. I’m no gearhead, but I think the transmission cracked or something; it seemed related to any change in rpms anyway. It sounded loud, strident, tortured, mortally expensive, and that mystical connection was working the other way too; my body was feeling like it ought to be making a similar noise, I was so tense.

So I took the rest of the day off, and got the old rattletrap started on that final journey together to the Ford dealership down the road. The trade-in was $500, which I strongly suspect is parts and scrap valuation; I don’t think that it’ll be an actual vehicle any more, not after just shy of 300000 fairly rough miles. Rust in pieces.

I am now driving the vehicle pictured left, a 2008 Nissan Sentra. My credit is only fair, mostly because I ran up card debts in my youth, carried them longer than was entirely reasonable before admitting bankruptcy, and refused ever since (until now) to establish new debts. Oddly enough it’s the latter that really damns me in the crazy finance system; I don’t get the most easily affordable deals because I have shown an unwillingness to accrue debt. Still, by putting down the lion’s share of my savings as a down payment I got a livable payment schedule and a pretty nice vehicle to drive around in. We’ll see if the new grey mare can outlast the old green mare in the long haul.

Tuesday and Wednesday I had to abruptly yank my hours to first shift if I wanted to partake in training on a new flow metrology system at work. I am by nature an infovore, and keep myself valuable by always improving my skills base, so I did that, blowing my sleep schedule all to hell in the process.

Massive stress and tension + sleep disruption + flu season = ?

Yes, the math is pretty easy on that one, isn’t it? Despite having taken my jab, which usually sees me safely through the season, Wednesday I abruptly began getting shaky, lightheaded, feverish and congested with runniness. I took the rest of the week off and, while technically I had all my time spare to write, in practice I could not concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. I know Christopher Hitchens kept working through to the end, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that he was made of sterner stuff than I am. I’m pretty wimpy when you get right down to it.

So there you go: if you were wondering why I haven’t been active on this blog, or my other online presences, your curiosity is satisfied. I’m still a bit rough even now, but I’m going to try to put in some work tomorrow (with appropriate prophylactic measures to try and avoid infecting those co-workers who haven’t had the flu yet), and resume the writing bits (not just here, I have a ton of stuff from my writers groups to critique for example).

Be well, people! Oh, and don’t forget to set your clock forward. Don’t think of it as losing an hour, think of it as having already lost the distinction between time’s passage and its symbolic representation.

~ by BT Murtagh on March 11, 2012.

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2 Responses to “Coming out of a rough week”

  1. FWIW – Get well soon.

    Also, “…think of it as having already lost the distinction between time’s passage and its symbolic representation.” = “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.”

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