2022-07-31 10:40:02 (UTC)

Connected to Cars - And Everything Else

Personal entry follows.

There's a special connection I've had with all the cars I've owned. The first car I ever bought was a stick-shift Dodge Colt, no air conditioning, dreadful and faded cherry-red paint scheme. GREAT tape deck in there. I purchased it for $500 from a regular at the corporate coffee shop I worked at during that time in my life. I don't think I named that car, but I named every car I've owned since.

My favourite was Regina - whom I was with through the early 2000s - but I currently have Car. I named Car after what it is, not necessarily some fantasy servant or lover (besides, no one could really compete with Regina... but I digress). Car is fantastic, and is a great example of what cars ought to be. Its a 2012 Toyota Corolla that I've driven 20,000 miles over the past two-ish or three years.

While all my cars have been special, I think it's when I bought Car that I actually started talking to it. I regularly thank Car for taking me where I want to go. I conratulate Car on a job well done. I sometimes even apologize to Car when I've driven through a snowstorm or torrential downpour of rain, since I put Car in an unsafe position through no fault of its own. Car and I have experienced a lot together, including the longest road trip I've ever taken in my life (and again: through torrential downpours and sleet and other weird weather).

I treat Car how I would like to be treated, in the context of it being a vehicle. I take it for regular maintenance and follow a legit maintenance schedule. I put Rain-X on the windshield. I recently spent over $850 on four new tires. I have embroidered seat covers.

I want Car to revel in its car-ness. That is: if it must be a car, then I'm gonna help it be the best damn car it can be. I strive to never hold Car back from what it's supposed to do.

At some point, I took that same attitude that I hold towards Car, and began applying it to other non-human objects in my life. So I sometimes thank my toothbrush. I regularly congratulated my Insta-Pot and my coffee maker for doing an excellent job. I even repaired my coffee maker one day, stopping a leaky water tube and re-affixing it instead of throwing it away. My telescope has treated me so well in life. I have a collared shirt I love to wear, and I couldn't bear to part with it (I've actually written about it in a couple entries here) so while I packed it in my suitcase I mentioned out loud, "Well, I hope you don't mind, but I just have to take you with me."

My point is this: it's only because of whatever Cosmic Lottery is out there that I'm not a shirt, or a coffee maker, or a car. My molecules could easily have been made into any of scores of objects instead of this body I use to move through the world. Taken to the extreme, I could be a fragment of ore miles within the Earth's crust or a mote of space dust just as much as I could be a human. I could be a veggie burger that some hippie ate, and then later shit out.

Reading a bit of Alan Watts today reminded me of this particularly strange belief system of mine. In one of his more notable essays, he ruminates on the question of, "What makes you, You?" There's discussion of the ego and from where it originates: is it your intellect, and if so where does your intellect end and your body begin? Are you simply a moral agent? Or are you possibly the Universe experiencing itself: a mass of cells interacting with the environment around you?

Were I a spiritual person, I think this would be the seat of my spiritual beliefs. All things are connected, in so much as they are all made of the same things. It was only chaos and randomness that separated this particular clump of atoms from another, so that they became my spatula and my veggie burger, my stovetop and my cast iron pan, while I became the organism that catalyzes the energy held in that veggie burger so I can further experience life like a human being would.

I suppose it's likely people think I'm just a bit too strange to think this way: that there is no god that rules us or guides us, or uniquely chose us to be who we are. That we're cosmic bursts that show up in the right place, at the right time.

Neil Young wrote:

"There's a warning sign on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin' they'd be better off dead
I don't feel like Satan, but I am to them
So I try to forget it any way I can."

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