If the car runs hot, so will I.


*Not literally. In fact it’s more that the literal word DISABILITY flashes through my mind’s stage. It’s a tall serif, distorted and looming with an iced coat of purple and orange. Thanks, synesthesia, for keeping me colorful!

“Disability” has begun to have a distinct, red flag associated with it.* Sometimes I’m mostly fine — at my best, I may feel simultaneously clear-headed, refreshed and the owner of legs that didn’t begrudge their own existence. At my best, I am an intelligent person who can accomplish a great deal. That’s a magical circumstance above the daily “baseline” for which I strive.

A daily baseline includes feeling good enough (or mad enough about not feeling good enough) to get done a daily list of household chores sprinkled with other things I know need to be done. I may be dizzy, but awake and only a little confused. I may be cognitively vacant, but not too dizzy. I am not too disabled to wash dishes and make a meal.

How do I know when I’m stepping off of that baseline into disability? For today’s example we’ll go with “heat intolerance.”

Yesterday the car got dropped off for a wide swath of repairs, including one sneaky upsell of a new air conditioner belt. It was under $30 and better safe than sorry, right? We got the car back at the end of the day blowing only hot air (none of the repairs were for A/C — in fact, the A/C had always worked perfectly). The mechanic shrugged about it, unable to offer an explanation… but he did write up a new $1100 estimate for that repair.

Is it just me, or is it unsettling for a mechanic to be unable to explain a car malfunction that happened on his watch?

We did get to go to the swamp right before all this car stuff happened. See the spiderweb?

We did get to go to the swamp right before all this car stuff happened. See the spiderweb?

But anyway, disability. Walking out the front door and sitting in a hot car until it cools down instantly pulls out any coherence from me until the temperature lowers. To any accompanying observers, I may only begin to resemble a pouty teenager who just got grounded; if I do say anything, it will be garbled of syntax and a little slurred… making me a pouty teenager who just got grounded for getting into the hotel mini bar.

Once the A/C kicks in, I’ll start feeling my oats again in 5-10 minutes; within 30 I’ll be back to whatever baseline I had been travelling that day.

Yesterday no A/C kicked in. It constantly amazes me, however, how much a human body can take — knowing I’d never be granted the kindness of passing out, and knowing I’d have to exist during a rough patch which always passes, I tried breathing and recording memory of every sensation. I don’t know what I’ll do or learn with this information, but by gum I am cataloging.

My parents once again proved why they are my heroes — we’ve got their car while ours goes to Dad’s mechanic for problem solving. Not only does it have air conditioning, but you can control the temperature of each vent. What an amazing world in which we live, am I right?

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