Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Burning Oil and Memories

Sleeping has once again become difficult and I was planning an early bedtime last night, but all this went by the wayside when I started my car.

Over the weekend Saint Louis received an inch of snow, and my car, instead of having snow on it, had a thick sheet of ice on the windshield. My scraper was mysteriously absent (I think it grew legs and walked away as that is most logical explanation :) so I had to sit and wait for my car's heater to work its magic.

Time went by and the ice slowly started to show signs of yielding to the heat. At about this time there was an odd yet familiar scent in the air that triggered many memories.

The first memory had nothing to do with this car, but for some reason it was triggered. What I remembered was my first car and the first time Emily sat foot in this contraption. I call it that because the year was 2000 and my car was a 1983 Mazda 626 that should have been laid to rest many years before I drove it. There was a hole in the trunk and most everything except the engine didn't work. It did get me from point A to point B so I can't complain about that, but the first time Emily sat foot in the car it was an adventure.

We were coming home from... wow, Crestwood Mall (See yesterday's post) and were on I-44 on a very chilly and snowy night. As I said, not much worked on this car and one thing that didn't work was the defroster. After about two miles on the interstate the windshield decided it wanted to make the night an adventure so it started to frost over. My visibility was reduced to the point where I sat to the windshield. I quickly rolled down my window and was looking outside my car to see where I was going. Emily was not amused at this.

While the smell that I experienced yesterday wasn't directly tied into that example, it plays the leading role in my next memory.

A month after having the frost issue I decided to beg my mom for the usage of her car. Her car was the 1995 Nissan Maxima I own now and its defroster worked so I knew I could drive without having to stick my head out the window. There was a catch though on this night. You see, just a few weeks prior to this my mom blew the engine on her way to Indianapolis and the car caught fire. The fire stayed in the engine, but the car needed a new engine. She warned me of an odd smell, but I shrugged it off as I didn't know what she meant by it.

Driving to pick Emily up I smelled nothing, but as the car warmed up and we hit the interstate the smell engulfed the car in a haste. The smell that I was smelling was oil that came out of the engine that blew and got trapped up against and in the fire wall. And let me tell you, unless you like the putrid smell of old oil burning my car was a self enclosed stink bomb. Again, Emily wasn't amused.

After her two experiences in each of the car's I drove she decided that she would drive from then on. I actually could see her point of view and was glad because I hated my 626 and I couldn't always have my mom's car, but then again why would I because of the noxious smell of burning oil. So that brings me to yesterday. As I sat waiting for my car to thaw and I had the temperature set to 85 and the defroster on I smelled that smell I first smelled 10 years ago. The oil had returned.

It's like clockwork as the first time each year I have my car on the highest heat setting the oil scent returns. It isn't as toxic smelling as the first year and with each year that goes by the scent becomes fainter and fainter. Smelling it though brought back all the memories of that first year I knew Emily and of course the disasters of the cars I drove. In a way I felt as if I were back in the year 2000 driving down I-44 knowing, without a doubt, that Emily most certainly was not amused.

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