How “Making Do” Costs EF Spoons.

A mug of tea, sits atop a white table. In front of it, an incense burner with the lord of the rings design leaf of lothlorien. Behind the mug, sits a soy candle, and beyond that, 2 lava lamps and an aim'n'flame.
I figured it’d be fitting to use a mug that comes with a spoon! Today’s Flavor: Honey Lavender.

You know, I really didn’t intend on letting this blog rot on a server for 8 months with no new posts.

I was too busy “making do” because I had no choice when it came to spoon usage (for the unaware, see Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory. Also, it’s been later stated that Spoon Theory applies to more than just physical disabilities, by the way). This year has been putting out one fire after another it seems.

First things first. After some medical drama, and random incidents, I have learned how to acquire a spoon deficit by having an older car. First thing that went this year was the head gasket (notorious for going for those 2.2L OHV engines of the 90’s, right?). That was replaced in april. In June, my water pump decided it was time to go. So in addition to watching my coolant temp and getting anxious at every stoplight in town, I started carrying a thing of coolant to fill up my car every time I had to go somewhere before it was fixed. After it was fixed by my dad, then I noticed that my car was having trouble starting and it started stalling out at stops. I believe it died once in the sonic drive thru (at the window, nonetheless), died on the way to grandma’s in a gas station parking lot. My EGR valve got replaced because it was completely done. Carbeast went longer without stalling until it stalled in a health clinic’s parking lot a month later.

By then it was having trouble accelerating and even had trouble shifting up to the next gear on occasion (because everyone likes being stuck at 30mph, right?). Come to find out, the strainer sock was busted and fuel pump burned up and died (mechanic then congradulated me at getting the car there before it had to be towed). After all of this shenanigans (I forgot to mention the leaky rear brake cylinder but oh well), my car is now running better than it has in a while.

(Also, before anyone comments it: Don’t be a classist doo-doo-head and suggest for me to “just get a new car”, as if they magically appear regardless to anyone’s finances. Also: I’m also not here for any classist lectures on how I should have a new car already or that I should “save more” (as if I’m not trying to do so already) and whatever goal-post-moving financial shame and blame anyone has to offer up. Literally. Tell someone who gives a flying fuck and just leave me alone. The last person who tried that crap with me backpeddaled when I told her that my car still lives after having 234,000 miles for a reason.)

By “making do”, I am talking about the mental logistics in their head that is a process piled on top of other processes, that hogs resources because it has to for survival’s sake. It’s more of a surivival technique than it is something that people should just get used to, and my car drama has only been one application of such a process. So, in addition to processing the tasks involved in driving, I have had to do mental gymnastics to calculate the number of stoplights to X part of town any time I took the car out somewhere when it was stalling prior to the EGR valve replacement. I was at one point actively planning my route on the fly depending on which lights were red and green as I was approaching them, as well as trying out my neighbor’s observation that if you hit one light green on X boulevard, if you do exactly 37mph, you will hit all of the lights green in a row (sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, sorry neighbor!). At the point of right before the water pump was replaced, I had to remember to carry coolant in my car, and sometimes drop by the auto store to pick more up/and later mix more up. More crap to remember, basically.

That’s a lot of planning on top of planning on top of planning, an area that autistics and adhd folk alike are quite impaired in (that’s called “Executive Functioning”, for the curious, and uninitiated). You don’t want to know how many things I forgot to do in that span of the year so far, my brain just dropped the ball, just because there were more pressing things on my mind.

For an NT, having a less reliable car may not impair them as much since their EF is not impaired. Yes, they will have issues obviously if their car is having reliability problems (which is a lack of privilege in of itself, especially since it comes from a lack of class privilege too), but their brains won’t hot potato vital information right and left about other things they have to do unlike ND folks with impaired EF. Some days this year I went home and basically sat speechless in the recliner for hours trying to mentally recharge and remember what I was supposed to do.

For someone who has a more reliable newer car, to save spoons from not having to do mental gymnastics on “how many stoplights” and “how long will this car have to idle before it misfires and dies” and wishing for their car to make the trip without dying, is a privilege in of itself.

Probably the biggest privilege I have though from all of this, is knowing people who are trustworthy and knowledgeable about cars. A lot of people (especially those with cars on their last legs that are as old as mine) don’t have that privilege, and I’m very sure how nerve-wracking that would be if a person didn’t know of a trustworthy shop that wouldn’t rip them off, nor be related to someone who willingly fixes your car multiple times (basically a network of support, which a lot of people don’t have, and in many people’s cases it will also relate to how likely they are to be discriminated against if they bring it to a bad shop, i.e. if a woman is presumed to be clueless about her car and ripped off and charged more as a result, and so on). I figured to highlight that fact that I have this privilege of support, not in a way of condescention, but as a privilege check and an acknowlegement. A lack of support can be yet another layer compounding the issue when someone else deals with the car situation I dealt with this year. I at least want people to be aware of the possibility that someone else out there might lack this privilege, basically.

I hope, if anything, looking into this last year with the debacle that’s been my car, will give someone insight on how lack of privilege in one area can compound a lack of privilege in another area. And, if someone’s situation is different from mine, how it can impact it for better or worse.

Hopefully, from here on out, I will also be updating this blog more often.

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