You’re Not So Different From Your Car

Unlike an aged cheddar or bottle of Balvenie, people and automobiles generally don’t improve with age. As my husband once said after visiting my great aunt in a nursing home, 

“There is nothing glamorous about growing old.”

While attending graduate school, I drove an ancient Honda Accord that was held together by a lot of prayer and encouragement. The cassette player would run even when the car was turned off. Rain would get trapped in the moonroof and proceed to gush onto my lap when I put the car in reverse – soaking me to the point where I would have to go inside and change. It also seemed that as soon as I had one of its parts replaced, another would decide to break.

How I hated phone calls from my mechanic! As soon as the phone would ring I would squeeze my eyes shut and brace myself. He always started the conversation with,

“Hullo, it’s Karl, I’ve got some bad news. Your  _____ is shot.”

Your front wheel axle is shot. Your alternator is shot. Your motor mounts are shot. Your master cylinder is shot. Shot. Shot. Shot.

As I age, I have noticed how people are not so different from cars. Our body parts eventually become “shot” – just like my old Honda.  Arthritis is the human form of rust and corrosion. Our hearts – the fuel pump of the human body – stop pumping efficiently. Unless we can afford the services of a cosmetic surgeon (auto body shop) our exteriors become dented, scratched, and faded. Akin to transmission fluid leaking, we need to use the bathroom frequently during the night.

Some men tend to upgrade their cars – going from a practical Ford to a speedy red Porsche. Similarly, some men have the nerve trade in their wife for a newer version. One who doesn’t have dents or scratches. One who is younger, sleeker, and peppier. One who is fresh off the lot.

Ambulances are the human version of flatbed tow trucks. The mechanic – or car doctor – uses terminology we don’t understand. Similar to CAT scans and MRIs, your mechanic will run diagnostic testing that costs a bundle. A new car warranty is the automobile version of health insurance.

Food is our gasoline. The cost of filling a car’s gas tank can be equated to the expense of a large grocery order. Opening the refrigerator and seeing its bare shelves has the same feeling of frustration as noticing your gas light is on.

Cars are also like people in that there are big ones and small ones. Black ones and white ones. There are high maintenance, complicated people (Mercedes) and low maintenance, easy going people (Toyotas). There are people born in this country (Ford, GM) and people who immigrate from Europe (BMW, Lamborghini) and Asia (Mazda). Lastly, some people would rather avoid the snow (front-wheel drive cars) while others enjoy winter sports (the 4×4).

Thankfully,  that is where our similarities end. When a car reaches the end of its lifespan, it is sent to a scrapyard and crushed. When we reach the end of our lifespan, we are put in an overpriced box and buried in the ground.

It is unfortunate that cars and people don’t age as gracefully as say, a bottle of wine or a Redwood tree. But a bottle of wine and Redwood tree won’t drive your family on vacation or share the memories of their childhood.


15 thoughts on “You’re Not So Different From Your Car

  1. Haha! So true! Such a clever post. I will never look at my car the same way! Like you I had a car in college that was difficult. It wouldn’t start if it was raining out. And the fabric loosened from the ceiling and hung down on my head, until my brother stuck a pencil through it, into the ceiling of the car, to hold it up!

    • Necessity is the mother of invention: pencil-holding-up-car-ceiling. Love it! I also drove a Hyundai (before the Honda) that only had 3 cylinders, so when I drove on the interstate I had to drive in the truck/slow lane with my flashers on.

  2. Wonderful analogy! I had a VW Bug that finally had to be put out of its misery because I got so tired of having to find an incline to park it on to push start it. Thank god it was a light-weight car. I myself haven’t gotten to the push start phase……

  3. That is hysterical! The push start phase is overrated. My husband’s car has that – it is very fancy – and I am finding that the fancier a car is, the more glitches it has. He has had to have the computer reset a few times now. And it has all of these buttons! Just give me the old fashioned dial with “heat on” and “heat off” “Heat high” and “heat low.”

    Thank you for reading! 🙂

  4. “Shot shot shot”! You are so funny. Love the comparison. I’m a low maintenance, easy going Toyota!

  5. Some people love vintage cars, so I’m holding out hope that my husband finds me incredibly special when I’m 90. (though he’s still a tad upset I sold the Hyundai I had for 12 years…that little car ran like a dream.)

      • I literally just spit out my wine! No, it was an Accent and I actually just got rid of it about 6 years ago – I purchased it new…it was the best car EVAH!

      • My best car EVAH was a Toyota 4-Runner. Had it for 11 years. We called her (yes, HER) “Old Reliable”. I cried when I traded her in. The salesman thought I was a lunatic. Normally people are excited about getting a new car.

        Recently I was at a gas station and thought I saw Old Reliable. “Excuse me!” I called to the guy driving it,
        “Did you just get that 4-Runner?”

        “Nope,” He said, “I’ve had her (he called his 4-Runner “her” too!) since she was brand new.”

      • My husband saw my little Hyundai around town a couple of years after I sold her. (I called her Bessie…like she was a cow or something)…he said she still looked great. *sob!* Cheers to old cars we loved! *clink!*

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