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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Driving (or living) with the check engine light on

My check engine light came on yesterday, which is maddening.  The car is telling me there is something amiss, but it doesn't tell me exactly what.  I am an anxious mess whenever this happens because I don't know whether I am safe to drive because the check engine warning isn't really something dangerous or if I should anticipate my car exploding en route to the grocery.  

It could be either scenario, but I can't decode the message the car is giving me.  

Right now, a large portion of my life feels a lot like driving with the check engine light on.  Things are amiss but I don't know exactly what and I don't know the extent and I don't know how to fix.

It occurred to me today, while driving 40 miles from home and back again, that just because the check engine light doesn't come on doesn't mean everything is peachy.  Things could be going awry but the check engine light doesn't come on.....the vehicle simple putters out.  Something quickly snaps, and the driver is stranded on the side of the road.  

We think, or at least I do, that if no warning lights are on, then everything is fantastic.  I'm able to suspend my disbelief that shady things might be going on under the hood.  I'm not being warned, therefore all is well.

I think I tried thinking this as an attempt to make myself feel better.  
I think I failed to make myself feel better.  

I guess it was nice to be reminded that I can and do often live in la-la-land, able to forget that life might be utter chaos just beyond the bounds of my hands stretching outwards.  Chaos might be pulsating inwards towards me at all times, but I am able to feel in control of things.  

Until a warning light comes on, and I am reminded that I have no control and am at the mercy of mechanics and movements far beyond my understanding and scope.  

I don't doubt that I can get through it; it will just be an unpleasant part of the drive.  

1 comment:

Brandon Giere said...

Carrie, you can get through anything. The best advice for check engine lights is to stay calm. Panicking only makes things worse. I know it's easier said than done, but if you see your check engine light come back on, do not be afraid to seek help. There are people out there who car about you and your safety. thank you for sharing your thoughts.