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Americans love their cars.  For some it is simply the love of having transportation and the freedom that goes along with it.  For others the automobile is a passion.  Myself, I fall somewhere in the middle.  I love to drive and have ever since the state of Illinois issued me my first driver’s license.  I also love my current vehicle, which I have gushed over in the past, a Sunburst Orange 2008 Chevy HHR.

The thing about cars is that they are machines.  Machines built by a combination of human hands and other machines which were in turn created by human hands and machines.  And so on and so forth.  Eventually it comes down to everything being tracked, eventually, to human hands constructing everything if you trace it back far enough. And humans are nothing if not fallible, which translates to a certain level of fallibility in everything we make.  Of course, there is a certain level of physics and chemistry involved as well.  You can’t have all those moving parts working together with a variety of combustible chemicals and not expect that something is eventually going to wear out or break down.  It isn’t an if, but a when.

Thus, we all know, even if it is simply a niggling voice in the very back of our heads, that we are going to have a car break down on us at some point.  We know this before we drive it off the lot.  We know this before we test drive.  Heck, we know it when we’re still looking at brochures and researching vehicles on the internet.

Cars break down.  It’s a fact of life.

I’m learning this lesson again myself these days.  The problem is relatively minor in nature, or appears to be.  My research online leads me to believe that the cost to fix it may be a bit more than “minor.”  And, that, my friends is what got me thinking.

We all like to believe that we plan for every eventuality.  But the truth is, there is never a good time for the machines in our life to need repairs.  We always sigh when the furnace shuts down in the dead of winter or the car won’t start when we have an appointment or the computer crashes before we saved our work.  It always seems to happen at the worst possible moment.

But, what is the right moment?  If they all broke when we didn’t need them we wouldn’t even notice.

The truth is that we are dependent, to a greater or lesser extent, on these contraptions.  And we know they are bound to break sometime, again simple physics.  But, we always seem surprised and put out when they do.  What is so surprising?  Next time something breaks, take a deep breath.  Let your sigh out and shake our head in irritated frustration.  Then realize that it was bound to happen sooner or later, remember getting angry or upset doesn’t fix the problem, and calmly go about correcting the issue. Something breaking on you is stress enough. why compound it with fury?  I assure you the machine truly doesn’t care that you’re upset.

Well, maybe it did laugh a little, but that might have been my imagination.

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One Comment

  1. I think all machines laugh a little when they break down. I think that to some extent they enjoy the moment.


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