Monday, July 2, 2007

my dog is not my car

Current mood:peaceful
My car has 93,000 miles on it. It's six years old. It's starting to
fall apart. The a/c is broken. The windshield and left tail light is
cracked. It's not turning over right away. It needs a tune-up, a timing belt, an
oil change, an air filter, new tires, and probably ten other things. It
stinks of cigarettes and baby spew and sounds like the Spanish Armada
when I am negotiating a turn. I'm going to have to sink a thousand
dollars into it, at least, when it's worth maybe 2500 at best. At best.

But the fact of the matter is that the best move I can make is to fix
the car. I have 3 payments left, and if I make these repairs it will
probably make it another year or so. I have a baby, a house, and a job,
so I have to have wheels. I would love to live in a bikeable / walkable
city, but that's another story altogether. Over the next two years I
can keep putting "car payment" money away and try to get a better deal on
the next car. Or maybe the next time an emergency comes up, I'll have
a few bucks stashed away in the car account that I can nip. It will be
nice. It's a sound plan.

Astrid has cancer. Astrid is my nine-year old Doberman. Astrid is
beautiful and elegant. Astrid is strong. Astrid has scared away
criminals, Christians, and children alike with equal skill and
ferocity. Astrid will be dead by the end of the year, maybe the end of the month.

Astrid has been my best friend for nine years. She has been by my side
during hard times and radical changes. She was my baby for many years
when I believed there would never be a human baby in my life. My son
was born on her eighth birthday. She has never commented once on my weight
or cigarette habit, and she is happy to cuddle up with me no matter how
badly I need a shower or a shave.

Astrid has cancer and there's nothing I can do about it. I could
possibly do something about it if I had money. I can't even afford very
complete diagnostics, so it's hard to say if anything can be done to
extend her life while maintaining its quality. I wouldn't put her
through anything crazy like chemo or radiation, but there are lots of
options available in veterinary medicine to fight cancer, even more
than in human medicine. But I don't know if there is anything I can do
because I can't even afford the blood tests and x-rays to provide the
answers, much less treatment.

These diagnostics would cost about four hundred dollars. Surgery to
remove a couple of suspect lumps would be about six hundred.

A thousand dollars.

My car and my dog both require a thousand dollars to potentially extend
their lives a few months. The risk of total loss on the investment
toward either is 100 percent at any time.

How do I live in a world where putting a thousand dollars into pile of
pollution-spouting metal is a good idea but spending more than a few
dollars on my best friend and one of God's most precious creatures is a stupid one? What kind of life is this in which my car is a necessity but a giant
chunk of my heart is a luxury?

My car is replaceable. My dog is not.

My car is worth maybe 2500 dollars.

My dog is priceless...