Age, the unhappy bunny and the Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet. image by Stuart France
Silver Bullet: image by Stuart France

Mea culpa. I, who teach a system that includes the principle of non-attachment, have grown very attached to the Silver Bullet. She is no longer young… she has lost the last traces of youth and is becoming rather faded and wrinkled. She creaks a bit too. She still scrubs up well though…as long as you overlook the small bubbles of rust around her wheel arches and the odd stone chip, she is not in bad condition for her age. More to the point, that little car holds many fond memories.

She has seen much of England, dipped her toe briefly in Wales as a precursor to future adventures and carried me around Scotland. Not just me, though… she has been an integral part of the adventures with my writing partner and our books… ferried dear friends too-seldom seen around the country and, quite apart from getting me to work every day, she is both my passport to freedom and friendship and the magic carpet that carries me north where my heart gets to sing. She knows the way home.

The supermarket delivery driver was most apologetic as I got out of the car. He’d parked his vehicle across the entrance to the drive, leaving me no alternative but to park in the street behind him. Unfortunately, he must have forgotten that I was there. He was even more apologetic when he knocked on the door to tell me he had reversed into the Silver Bullet with sufficient force to do substantial damage, leaving the car in a condition now officially deemed  un-roadworthy. And me in a condition officially known as frantic.

Quite apart from the fact that I have just expensively replaced the headlights that now sit at some distance behind their accustomed position… and the fact that the bonnet will no longer open to check minor details like the engine and radiator… the thought of ‘no car’ was doing horrible things in both heart and gut.

Thankfully there was no question of liability and the process of getting her in for assessment was soon underway. The process that should have run smoothly has, so far, been a bit of a nightmare with various official bodies getting in the way. However, one way or another, the process is moving, even if the car isn’t.

She has been a valiant and steadfast companion on the road… and has looked after me well. If the car was as young and sprightly as she feels to me when she devours the miles with unbounded enthusiasm, there would now be no problem…she would simply go away to be repaired and come home good as new. As it is, once she is removed from my door, adventure, love, friendship and memory cease to have a place in her value and her destiny will be determined by cold, hard economics. Will the insurance people see her as viable to repair when, in monetary terms alone, she is worth very little? Her age will go against her and all I can do is wait and hope.

Sadly, her value on a calculator will never reflect her true worth to me. A process ruled by economics sees age as a defect, much as society often does with people. Once the shiny veneer of youth and beauty has been softened by time, our journey through it may leave us creaking from the many miles traveled, wearing the map of tears and laughter that our adventures have written upon our faces. But like my little car, we will have seen a good deal on our travels… made memories… grown in knowledge and hopefully wisdom… and we may even begin to know the way home.

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