Seeing Red

“It’s all in your head, Jess.”

The Bohemian is smirking at me from underneath the car. He’s on his back, flashlight in hand, neck arched. His face peers closely at all those critical parts, so rarely viewed. He’s in the underbelly of our Toyota.

This isn’t the first time he’s teased me with this. It’s a remark I can’t stand to hear, though the way the Bohemian delivers it, carries just enough love to make me interested in why I dislike it so. A week ago, he was echoing this sentiment as I groaned through sleepless nights, dealing with a pinched nerve in my lower back. Right now, it’s car trouble.

Today, the car’s temperature gauge is in the red, there is evidence of a leak, and I’m wondering how our one-car family will get through five days of no transportation. Every mechanic we know is booked until next week.

Thirty minutes ago, I didn’t even get as far as a mile down the road before the temperature was reading maximum. After cooling it down and topping off the coolant, the Bohemian has been doing test drives, trying to mimic my over-heating scenario.

“I put the air-conditioning on max, ran the defrost, drove it around…the temperature looks normal, Jess. And I don’t see anything leaking under here, either.”

I can still see the faint wet spot on the floor of our garage, left over from the morning, when I first noticed a decent-sized leak coming from under the radiator zone.

“But you saw that leak this morning, right? That wasn’t my imagination.”

“Yeah, I saw it, but it’s not doing it now. Nothing looks wet. I don’t see anything wrong.” He scooches out along his back and swings his body up to sitting, smiling.. “There is no problem.”

Believe me, I don’t want a mechanical problem. No more than I want a pinched nerve in my back keeping me from morning walks and a full-night’s sleep. But I can’t deny the tingling that runs down my leg, and I’m not sure I can trust that a simple trip into town may find me, hood up, alongside the highway again.

“Will you come with me to the post office and we can see what it does?”


We drive fifteen miles or so. Run the air conditioning, drive up and down steep hills. We stop, check the pavement beneath the car. The temperature runs normal. There is not a drop to be seen.

All in my head…hmm.

I like to think that this mysterious life can be some sort of out-picturing of our interior world. That we are the writer, director, producer, and star of our own movie-in-the-making. Each scene is custom-made for us, for our experience and growth. And though we all live here together, and our plot-lines may intersect, no two movies are the same.

I’ve heard it said that five people can experience a situation together, but ask each one of them, individually, what happened, and you’ll get five very different stories. Each one of us sees the world through our own unique filter, shaping our life stories just the way we need.

The ever-steady Bohemian doesn’t need reminders about over-heating. I’m the one that seems too quick to lose my cool. He’s the one with oodles of patience, when I let the small things fray at my nerves.

So did I just manifest some little overheating drama on my way to the acupuncture appointment that was supposed to calm my nerves? Maybe I’m stretching a little further out on the woo-woo limb than necessary. But as the Toyota seems to be in working order as soon as the Bohemian enters stage left, I’m pondering the power of my script.

And the Bohemian has his own movie, too. One could suggest he just needed an excuse to leave work early, put on his hero cape, and come to his wife’s rescue. That he needed to remind us both, there is no problem.

We could catalog this incident in the metaphysical files under “?”. Move on to our old routine and just forget about it. But I’m too practical for that. I’ve secured a diagnostic with the mechanic next week.

From now until then, I’ll play with the metaphors of running hot and being nervous. Though, guaranteed,  I’ll be traveling with a gallon of water, some rags, and chronically checking under the hood.

I may be making this movie, but I’m still getting to know the Muse. Not quite sure where this little sub-plot is taking me.

courtesy of Oceanworks Car Blog
courtesy of Oceanworks Car Blog