My sister is being a bum about replacing her car battery. It’s in our blood. Our family avoids mechanics like they’re doctors. She lives in a different state so there’s not much I can help with when she calls me from a gas station or empty parking lot at night while waiting for AAA. I do the sisterly thing and walk her through the situation’s high potential for inciting horror. Inspired by real life events, of course.
Final girls get the glory, but the first victim goes out in spectacular fashion. We may not learn her hopes and dreams. We may never know her name, but we will remember her screams always. Her end is our beginning. How she goes sets the tone for the whole movie, maybe even a franchise.
I tell her this knowing she lives in fear of zombies, vengeful spirits, masked strangers wielding chainsaws – the stuff dreams are made of. What do victims in horror movies lack? Reliable cars.
This is fixable. My other sisters and I got her a new car battery for Christmas. All she has to do is put it in or get someone to do it, but the mental block is mighty. I sent her links to tutorials so she could try to do it herself. It looks doable but so does self surgery when reduced down to a few images with colorful arrows.
Other people’s problems are so easy to fix. I should just drive there and help or go with to a mechanic. But well you see um actually my back tires need replacing. Every time I try to muster the will to take care of it something more urgent comes up, like a nap or taxes. I’d rather do my taxes than deal with my own car problem. Last summer, a deep dip in the lot at a trailhead knocked our wheel well liner loose. Okay, driving into the deep dip is probably what knocked it loose. We didn’t notice until this massive piece of rubber started dragging under the car on the drive home. The sound, feel and smell of rubber suddenly dragging on the road at 60+ mph is not pleasant. Fortunately I never leave home without duct tape. I proceeded to tape and re-tape for weeks. The mechanic said we spent more time taping than he did fixing.
So I understand the aversion but understanding isn’t going to break the cycle. Several times a week her car battery dies then my phone rings then a slasher road movie unfolds until headlights pull up presumably to lend a jump. Once the car is running again, her promise to take care of the battery is no match for the mental block.
Mental blocks are monsters. Mine are best defeated by bigger monsters. The consequences of not doing something that needs doing are always worse than the act of doing it. Procrastinators know this, but sometimes a push is needed. Enter my latest edition of I Wish This Existed.
I wish there was a business, sort of a singing telegram meets haunted attraction to-go. I could call and place a standard order for a haunter to lurk in the lot where she often calls me from. Then snap a twig. Maybe growl. Step out from the shadows a moment before AAA headlights roll up.
This business idea has some flaws. We can iron those out. Learn on our feet. Thinking it through, my sister would maybe never forgive me, but I’m pretty sure she’d get that battery put in. Maybe she’d thank me. Rather than wonder and never know, I ran this idea by her. A zombie steps out from behind a dumpster, slowly advances. You look into its eyes of endless hunger and wish you got that battery put in!
She said No thanks.
Later that night she called me not from a gas station and not for one of my usual don’t go down without a fight pep talks. I made her so paranoid she went to Pep Boys. She called me from home to not say thanks.