Given the extremely sad experience I shared with you all in last week's column: "Chino Lourie, Rest in Peace," this column will be an attempt to bounce back to my usual and customary reality, one oddly enough that has nothing to do with cancer (well, much, anyway). Instead, it has to do with unexpected joy.
The joy to which I refer has to do with a subject which typically provides me little joy: I refer to our two automobiles, a 2000 Honda Accord and a 2018 Audi A4. The former inherited from my parents, payment-free but rarely hassle-free; the latter not free of payments, unfortunately, but free of hassle since its maintenance is covered by the warranty.
Nevertheless, for the past few years, off and mostly on, both cars have had an indication that all was not right. Each had illuminated dashboard warning lights (aka "idiot lights") constantly reminding the driver that attention to some detail was required. For the Honda, it was twofold: a "Main't Req" light and a "Brake" light "were dashing." For the Audi, it was "onefold": an icon which looks like an upside down horseshoe, sort of, which I learned, after thumbing through the owner's manual, meant low tire pressure, appeared directly under the speedometer. Since I felt no give or take with the Honda and saw no evidence of low tire anything with the Audi, I learned to take their reminders in stride and figured I'd wait until their respective next service calls to respond to them.
Those service calls have now occurred. And I am extremely glad – and relieved to say, that their necessary/underlying repairs have been made. Glad/relieved not so much because the repairs/obvious safety issues have been addressed. Rather, glad/relieved that in making those repairs, the dashboard warning lights are no longer illuminating their disdain with the idiot behind the wheel: me, neglecting them.
No more, after starting either car, will my initial focus be on the dashboard to see if miraculously the warning lights have disappeared and finally stopped their incessant, non-verbal badgering. No more will I be forced to ignore their illumination and attempt to compartmentalize their visual reminders that all is not well under the hood (so to speak). And finally, no more will I have to worry that one day – or night, the other mechanical shoe will drop, and I or my wife will be left stranded on the road somewhere, waiting for a tow truck to drag us to our car-repair maker.
And though this dashboard-warning-light-turn-off is really a turn-on, I am still able to keep its effect in perspective. It's not a cure for cancer and neither it is a cure for my "stable" issue as written about multiple times recently ("Please Relief Me" and "Apparently, Not a Stable Genius"). However, as we say in sales: "I'll take a yes;" as they say on the high seas: "Any port in a storm;" and as has been said for the last century: "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." For the official record, I am not horsing around in the least when I say how thrilled I am now that every time I start our cars, I see no lights reminding me what an idiot I've been. As a cancer patient I don't need that kind (or any other kind, quite frankly) of negativity in my life, or in my car either. Eliminating it from my activities of daily living adds a bounce to my step and a joie to my vivre.
I realize I may be overstating the significance of this momentous occasion, but when cancer takes over your life, it does so emotionally before it does so physically. As such, finding relief is HUGE. Moreover, solving a problem, however insignificant in the scheme of things it appears to be, provides the building blocks of success that, as a cancer patient, help strengthen your foundation as you navigate your daily routine. A routine which is already filled with enough challenges. So yes, I am going to make a mountain out of a molehill. And I am going to fill myself up with as much positivity, nonsensical or otherwise, as possible.
I need to be pulled forward, not dragged backward.