I love my job, but it should come as no surprise that I have several fantasy careers that have yet to come to fruition. Some for reasons that are self-explanatory; others we will blame on my spouse’s failure to support my dreams.
If the Carpenter had been there when my car died in a parking lot last week, he’d be way more open-minded to the potential of my yet undiscovered talents.
Sure, maybe I’m shooting for the moon dreaming of being a sultry jazz singer, singing heartbreaking standards of the genre. The obstacle here is clear: I cannot sing. Fair enough.
I always wanted to be a farmer, but the Carpenter assures me I wouldn’t last a day. He says nobody in their right mind would let me drive a tractor. Those 4am wake ups to milk cows would surely be the end of me. And given how dramatic I am about cleaning the litter box, I wouldn’t survive mucking a stall. He has a point there. Still, this dreamer’s gonna dream.
Since I was a young girl, I have dreamt about working on classic muscle cars, building engines and doing the body work right to the final polish. I know nothing about any of these things, but I would love to learn.
I envision owning a ‘67 Mustang and doing all the work to make its engine purr (hold on, I need a minute).
Instead, I found myself one morning sitting in a cold 2011 Toyota Matrix waiting for my aunt to come out from her doctor’s appointment. She’d been in there a while, too long to let the car idle. I was scrolling on my phone checking work emails when I decided to warm up the car. I turned the key (yes, my car still uses a key). The dashboard lights flickered. The car sputtered, then flat-lined. Oh no. I waited a few seconds and tried again. Nothing.
I didn’t panic. This was my chance to prove my mechanic abilities (cough). I pulled the hood release and got out. I fumbled to find the lever to lift the hood up, but I got it open. Already feeling rather proud of myself, I took a look at my corroded battery, caked with white crust. Considering this was the original battery, we’ve had some good years together. We are bonded. Cars have personalities. You just have to know how to talk to them.
Using a crumpled take-out food serviette I found in my pocked, I wiped the top of the battery off gently tapped it in various spots, saying to the car, “Okay, I know you need a new battery, you handsome, sexy Toyota, you. But I’m going to need you to get me and my aunt home before you get one, okay sweetheart?”
Then I dropped that hood with a thud of authority. I felt good about this. Of course, I looked around to see if anyone witnessed that oddly flirtatious moment between me and my car. Nothing to see here. I got in the car and fired up that engine on the first try. Never doubt me.
I patted the car on its dashboard and thanked it. This week it gets a new battery and jumper cables. The Carpenter will install the battery – because that whole being a mechanic thing was just a fantasy, remember? If he can’t support my Mustang dream, he’ll have to fix my car or let me use his tools.
Either way, I win.