Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . The Basics

We have two cars. The one my hubby was given when he was learning to drive--a '95 Jeep Cherokee--and our Lincoln LS. (These aren't actual pictures of our cars, just online images of the same models--approximately, LOL.)

Xander, the Lincoln, is ten years old but still blinged out for a car of that age. Heated seats. Rain-sensitive windshield wipers whose speed adjusts automatically depending on the rate of rain. Automatic headlights. Climate control. It's a sweet car, and it still looks lean and mean driving around with the newer cars. ;-)
Last night, in the pouring rain, I ended up driving Bartok the Jeep. (Yes, I name my cars, LOL.) Bartok was getting new tires in case we got the predicted snow last night, and I drove him home.

It was pretty funny. I got in and went, "Oh, the seat's all wrong." And I had to move it manually. No pushing of my pre-set button. Then--gasp--the steering wheel was all the way up! I really don't know that I've ever had to move the steering wheel in the Jeep, but miraculously, my hand found that level on its first reach. (Go ahead and laugh at me. I deserve it.) 

Positioning correct, I then had a new pause. It was raining, and my wipers weren't just wiping it away. Oh, right--I have to tell them to do that. I flip them on, then realize that the world around me is dark. Headlights. Check. I pull that knob out and feel relatively set to get going.

The steering is different. The brake pedal is softer. And it takes me a good two minutes to realize I need to flip the heat on myself--which I only realize because the windows are fogging up. I've been known to go an entire trip without turning the heat on in the Jeep, LOL.

This always amuses me because, let's face it, it's basic stuff. Stuff I shouldn't have to put so much thought into--but I've been spoiled by Xander. Still, we keep Bartok around. Why? Well, because nothing's like a Jeep. It can go in the snow, it can go in the mud, it can go off road and on road and across road and do it all with cheerful gumption and enough squeaks and jingles and rattles to let you know it's working hard. ;-) 

I love Bartok. I love the blingier Xander too, but driving around in the Jeep last night, it really got me thinking.

Is there a better when it comes to this sort of thing?

It all comes down to purpose. Do I drive Bartok every day? No, because it's a two-door and hard for me to get the kids in and out of. But when the first flakes of snow start coming down, you can bet I give Xander a nice pat and say, "Take a break, buddy. Have a snow day. It's your brother's turn." Same goes if we have to haul anything bigger than a paper box. And need I even say that the kids think riding in it is the most fun in the world, because it doesn't happen often?

I think sometimes life, and those of us blundering through it, is the same way. Some of us are a little rough around the edges. Some of us hold up well against the blinged-out world, but are, in truth, pretty modest in comparison. And sometimes it's hard to shift from one path to another, from one calling to another, from one situation to another.

Sometimes we get thrown by having to take care of things we're not used to taking care of. On the other hand, it can be a real treat to reach for that task and see it's already taken care of--that those headlights have already flicked on without any input from you.

But just like with my oh-so-different car-family, it's about the particulars, the circumstances. Sometimes we need to be spoiled.

And sometimes we need to get back to the basics.

In this season of hustle and bustle, of rushing and spending, take some time out for the Bartok situations in your life. Let the bling rest. Let the polish fade. And just enjoy the simple, and all it can do for you that the complex never could.


  1. Wow, that Jeep is still around? David had it when I visited in 1998. The picture of the green Cherokee instantly reminded me of that first time I was at his house.

    I still drive the car my parents bought while I was at Frankfort High, a 1994 Peugeot 306 ( Everything "manual" (at least it has power steering). But here in Palermo it serves me well (except for the missing AC) and repairing the occasional dent at the corner auto workshop costs only a few Euros...

    There is an antonym to "basic" that came into my mind when I read you description of Xander. And sure enough, Wikipedia calls the Lincoln LS a "luxury car" ;-)

  2. Yep, Sascha, still around--with nearly 400,000 miles on it! LOL. And one of our favorite things about it is how cheap the repairs are too. Always a good thing, and definitely not true of those luxury cars. =)

  3. Mine has run less than 100,000 miles in the same time! Distances are that much shorter and public transport is an alternative in the city. I don't think the Peugeot will be around for another 50 years to see the 400,000 miles mark :-D

    Coming back to your root topic, I agree with you and enjoy the "simple" things. When you think about it, the simple things are often the fruit of much ingenuity and labor, after all.

    Once I have learned to value the basics, it's even more relaxing to savor the luxury once in a while.