We all make our choices, and I thought I’d have more to show for mine by now. But that doesn’t mean they were the wrong choices, or that I’d necessarily want the things I thought I’d have to show. Or the things I see other people showing.

I am on the road as we all are, but I don’t need to hit the checkpoints that other people have set. I’ve set my own. And they may take longer to reach, and it may be a more tiring journey, but that’s okay, because that’s the path I’ve chosen. And for that path I am right on track. It may just be that my journey requires more faith, because the checkpoints are further away, or there aren’t so many people up ahead of me to validate the route I’m taking.

We have the right to choose our own checkpoints. And perhaps the responsibility, depending on how you look at it. The world doesn’t make it easy, but it’s important to remember that that doesn’t make it wrong. Our internal compass is a far more accurate method of navigation than following the landmarks that others have decreed.

Lady mechanic

I would like the status of being a mechanic. Specifically a car mechanic, although I’m sure any kind would scratch my ego quite nicely.

There have been times in the past that I have bragged about replacing my motorbike’s exhaust, or casually worked changing my car’s battery into conversation hoping for implicit kudos. I liked it that time I was putting in a new air filter and a couple of guys went past and were all ‘woah, hey, a lady mechanic!’ and, even though it was maybe pretty sexist, and also I was literally just pulling out a cuboid and putting in a fresh cuboid, I decided to take it.

The thing is, though, I have always been acutely aware that I am skating by the skin of my arse with most of these endeavours. The point at which I’m in over my head is somewhere very close in front of me, obscured by the murky veil of ignorance. I haven’t irrevocably fucked anything yet, but there was that time I couldn’t get the carburettor back in. So, in more recent years, I’ve found myself actively trying to discourage any notion that I know how vehicles work, despite the fact I seem to want to talk about them to the extent that I fear people form…an impression.

I never even find time, these days (nor, if I’m honest, inclination), to indulge my amateur ratchet-handler, so I’ve had to accept it’s a dream that will likely never be realised. It sounds like too much fucking trouble at this point, anyway. I know it’s a long life. Things might change. But let’s be realistic. It might be kind of fun to take up the hobby when I’m like seventy, though. Just for shock value more than anything. I think I have to admit that part of what I like about the idea of becoming a mechanic is defying expectations – though I’m not sure whose, exactly – and becoming an elderly lady mechanic just feels entirely satisfying. Except all of the combustion engines will have been shipped to the colonies by then, so…

Sometimes I think wistfully of the time I randomly got offered an admin job at a garage because the owner liked my demeanour, and he couldn’t match my current salary so offered to pay me under the table, and I thought about requesting some kind of training instead, but then I just never got back to him. Other times I think about how, carried away in a romantic reverie, I nearly convinced my ex we should buy a Volvo 850 together, in my head thinking I could just do any work on it myself, because we sure as fuck couldn’t afford to pay someone. Maybe I should have gone through with it – we’d have broken up a lot quicker.

No one in my family even had a car until I was a teenager, and there was really no-one in my life at all who knew anything about cars, so I guess maybe that created some kind of mystique that lured me in. But it also created a barrier – cars seemed inaccessible to me, so I never even considered that I could learn about them. Which is kind of weird and disappointing. Looking back on the thought processes of my younger self is often fucking weird and disappointing. Irrational limitations juxtaposed against overexuberant ambitions, leading to a circle jerk of drama and wasted energetic capability. It was such a weird place to live, but I just didn’t know it at the time. How reality has changed.

Anyway. I’m not a mechanic. Which is a shame, because I need one.

Underwhelming realities

For me, there’s a tension to everything right now. I’ve been having new conversations, and people have been disappointing me. No-one is meeting me where I am, and I’m tired of having to do so much legwork. And I wonder if it’s worth it, or if I’m walking the wrong way.

Confronting reality is often disappointing. That’s why so many of us avoid it. The truth is usually less palatable than we’d like. But we can’t change a reality that we can’t see, which is why finding the courage to air it all out is important.

So I know all of this low-grade strain is for a good cause. I know it is a prerequisite for a better reality.

But still, it would be nice to, just for once, simply, be pleasantly surprised.