Home > Life, Pets, Really?, Spirituality/Religion > 15 Years and a Quarter Million Miles

15 Years and a Quarter Million Miles

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

My dog and my car….

Vying for longevity records…

And me….

Wondering how long the three of us will last…..

We’ve been traveling together for a long time now, since I was in my early 30s and they were both brand new.

My car used to go faster and get speeding tickets from time to time. Now, she just toodles along, irritating all who find themselves in her remarkably clean exhaust wake. An occasional oil change and a few replaced obsolete parts assure me that she’ll start every time I turn the key. I try not to go looking for trouble under the hood. As long as she’s humming, so am I.

My dog has eaten everything she could manage to get past her esophagus, including dirty diapers, animal bones, small electronics, various neighborhood trash concoctions — with only minor disturbances to her normal digestive process. She doesn’t seem to much care what it tastes like. The process of ingesting is the goal.

I’m kind of a hybrid of the two. I’ve been known to try things that others have the good sense not to go near and have so far managed to survive the disruptions to my spiritual health, and my physical body has yet to seriously balk at my actions. I try to keep both systems running at least reasonably well but I have my reckless moments — just to test the limits, for risk-taking’s sake.

Murphy riding shotgun in Big Red

I used to say that when either my car or my dog decided to call it quits, I would park them somewhere and cremate them together. But the closer that day gets, the more likely I am to want to join them.

I write this, not as a cry for help, but as an observation of our human decision to survive. My car doesn’t choose to keep running — it just does. My dog, well, she just seems to have more exploring to do in search of new things to ingest. She doesn’t seem to think much beyond that.

Me? Some days I don’t know. I don’t understand how or why I keep waking up in the morning…. I just do. I have no more sense of why I’m here than either my car or my dog. I just am. I envy their lack of need to know.

I wonder if lots of us don’t feel this way sometimes. We create externals that require us to get up and keep going, but what are we without those external drivers? If I didn’t put gas in the car and just let it sit there, it would probably continue to exist indefinitely. If I set my dog free to make it on her own, she would because she just does.

I will likely continue to be here when the other two have stopped running because something in me will always expect that there is more to experience. I will probably not decide to rev my car up as fast as it will go and slam head-on into a live oak tree in order to obliterate us all in a giant fireball as I have occasionally fantasized about doing.

257,000 miles and still going…

No, my car will eventually deteriorate enough to not be worth repairing and so will my dog. Heck, so will I. But since I am not quite there yet, their passing will precede me and I hope I’ll be able to see it not as an ending, but as a new beginning. A shiny new car, a healthy young dog and I will begin the process all over again even though I know I will have to endure the same re-evaluation someday … and I will again make the decision to survive … or not.

And so it goes for each of us. Parts of us die over and over again throughout our lives so that something shiny and healthy can emerge. Someday soon I will let these two witnesses to my disjointed mid-life go but I will still be here because they taught me what it means to just keep going until your parts wear out.

And I will smile gratefully, knowing that I survived…. again.

  1. Mickey Grooters
    September 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Ellen,
    Finally – a new post :-). I love this line: “what are we without those external drivers?” I am really (after retirement) wrestling with this. And without those markers – how and where do I create purposeful living–or should I be like your dog – happy to love and be loved???Right now we have some needs in our own family that need attending to–but is that purposeful–I wonder is it external drivers that propel growth, or is it a letting go of security. Yes hopefully you will outlive Murphy and your car, but sometimes not. The bird clock that chirps with great enthusiasm on the hour in our house. .. my dad’s gift . . . but the giver is gone. My husbands razor — once his father’s – but the father is gone–all our recovered furniture. . . Someplace out there there is a Ray Bradbury short story where everyone is gone– dead– but the electric voice of the house lives on. . . that’s weird too.
    Enough. Just know that I liked this, and I really enjoy your fb postings. Happy Sunday.

  2. Mickey
    September 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Larry loved this.

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