Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The geriatric chicken, or why I hate cars (but drive one anyway)

Yesterday, I started to rescue a geriatric chicken. Why the chicken needs rescuing is a whole other story. Suffice it to say, she’s too old to lay eggs, and yes, I’m one of THOSE types who don’t like to see animals suffer, not even geriatric chickens. Who knows, in my next life I might be a chicken; so I went in my car to fetch her. Along the way, I stopped to look at a used truck for sale, since, while I have no problem with geriatric trucks suffering, I thought one might be useful for hauling my bikes around in—which is one reason I hate cars (and trucks): if there were fewer of them to contend with, I could ride my bike instead of hauling it to more places without fear of mortal danger. However, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em. . . .

Anyway, my car refused to budge after I determined the truck was too geriatric for even my taste. Fortunately, a nearby auto mechanic was ready to render assistance, or some semblance thereof. Precisely, he managed to remove the faulty starter motor yesterday, but has yet to install a new one, to my knowledge. After hitching a ride home, I discovered to my dismay that I had left the keys in the car, including the keys to the garage where the bike I would prefer to ride back to the mechanic is stored. This assumes, of course, that I should be so fortunate as to receive a phone call to the effect that my car is repaired. Like any good bike nut, I have several other bikes, but my good floor pump is in the trunk of the car in question, stored there, ironically, to keep me from not having it whensoever I might need it. So I jimmied the door to the storage shed with an expired credit card, where yet another cache of bikes is stored, and one of them appears to have enough air in the tires to get me where (I hope) I’m going.

Which brings me to the other reason I hate cars: for the cost of one year’s insurance payment on the car (not to mention gas, oil, tires, and starter motors), I can buy two or three bikes of ordinary vintage that will get me where I need to go. Repairs can, if I am sufficiently motivated, be effected at home, or obviated by buying another bike of ordinary vintage. Damn’ you, Henry Ford!

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