My car died yesterday.
Turned the key. Nothing. Lights showed up, but the engine acted as if I wasn’t even there.
I love my car. She’s a ten year old Honda Civic hybrid, silver blue. Her name is Sylvia and she is absolutely reliable. We had murmurings this summer of doing a car exchange: my dad has a five year old Toyota Prius that he might like to get rid of and it would make sense for me to take the newer car. R was horrified. With great reluctance, he agreed that I could do whatever I wanted when he was gone but he patted Sylvia during his ride to the airport and told her she was a good car and he’d miss her. Unsurprisingly, I still have her.
Yes, I’m the kind of person who can love a car. And I raised one of the same.
But I’m not impractical.
So this morning, I faced the day grimly. Called the car service shop. They’d see her whenever I managed to get her there. Before I called a tow place, C suggested I try roadside assistance for my car insurance. I was skeptical. The car was not by the side of the road, after all. Turns out, yes, roadside assistance would tow my car for free. Yay!
While I waited for phone calls back and a tow truck driver to arrive, trying to write seemed pointless–too many anticipated interruptions. So I vacuumed. Cleaned the bathroom. Took out the trash. Unloaded the dishwasher. Stripped the sheets off my bed. Started some laundry. Dusted. Organized my desk. Opened my mail and actually tossed the useless stuff, filed the rest. And finally, the tow truck driver arrived.
I felt so damn productive. Usually I clean in little bits and pieces around other stuff, and I never get done. There’s always more to do, work left unfinished, jobs I’ll get to later. Today, I just kept looking for something new to do–because after all, the driver would be here in half an hour, fifteen minutes, ten minutes, five minutes, any minute, a while ago, sometime really soon. He probably only took an hour. If I’d spent that hour sitting by the side of the road, I would have been an unhappy camper, but I didn’t and I wasn’t.
Once the car was gone, I started writing. And it was fun.
I’d love to know why. In the fourteen months that I’ve been working on this ridiculous book, it’s been many things but rarely fun. Today, though–well, Natalya and a smart-mouthed teenage boy are getting into it, and… oh, right, writing a smart-mouthed teenage boy entertains me. Huh. That seemed really obvious once I thought about it. I think after I finish this series of romances, I may need to go YA for a while. Not that my romances haven’t been heavy on the teenage presence–I’d say Thought never did manage to decide whether it was romance or YA–but perhaps I should acknowledge that I drift in the YA direction even when I don’t intend to.
But none of that is the point. I had fun writing, I got a lot done around the house, my bedroom is clean, and Sylvia just had a bad battery. $150 and a new battery later, and she’s back home in the garage, good for…well, a while longer we hope.
And a day that started out badly wound up feeling really good. Somewhere in there is a metaphor or a moral or an aphorism waiting to be found, but I don’t know what it is.
Favorite lines of the day (although to be honest, I really like quite a lot of the lines I wrote today):
“What’s he going to do, point a gun at me?” Natalya snapped.
“Ha.” The boy scowled, but didn’t raise his weapon. “Lawyers, more like. Social workers. Judges. They’ll say no proof, need evidence, best place for you, man’s got rights. End of the road, kid.” Bitterness etched his voice and the lines drawing down his mouth.