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Does Henrietta Fit In the System?

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Does Henrietta Fit In the System?

Postby Arik » Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:31 pm

Henrietta is the name I gave to the 1986 Ford Tempo that has been in our family since Dad picked her up from the dealership.

When I became her driver, now old with hundreds of miles, I seemed to project a persona onto her. I saw her as a grandmotherly figure, no longer a spring chicken but still able to get around. I was no mechanic initially, but I learned how to take care of her through trial and error and knew what she needed. I even detailed her once a week. You could not find a speck of dust on her exterior, interior, or trunk. Total strangers would come up to me in parking lots when they see this clean, old car, "Is that a Tempo? Sure looks clean." In my reply, I would tell them how many miles she had on her as if the miles she drove were a badge of honor. One time, when my entire family went to Applebee's, I proudly drove my parents in the spotless but worn car that they once drove.

Her paint job was fading, but that's no different from one's hair turning grey.

I was a bit hard on her at times. After all, I was a bit of a showoff, and, as a Tempo, she has a sports suspension system. She could handle it. For example, I would make sharp right turns at twenty miles per hour. One year, when I needed to get her annual state inspection, the inspector had me drive as he sat in the passenger seat to test the brakes. He did not know how to operate a stick, and Henrietta had a manual transmission. To test her brakes, all I had to do was circle the gas station. As I turned to go behind the gas station, I asked how fast I needed to test the breaks. He said I didn't need to go fast for the test. I floored the accelerator and drove towards the guard rail. A 2.3 L I4 engine does not produce a lot of torque, but Henrietta gave me all the torque she had. As we got close to the guard rail, I slammed hard on the breaks. We stopped about two feet from the guard rail. I slowly and methodically turned my head to the inspector. "So. How are the breaks?" When you know a car that well, you know what she can and cannot do.

Nervously the inspector shook his head. "The breaks work." I imagine that he never had a customer help him test the breaks after that.

Henrietta constantly needed maintenance, and all my parents saw was how much money I was spending to keep her going. In 2010 Mom manipulated me into getting rid of her.

It felt like I was dumping Grandma at a nursing home though she could still get around. Henrietta had been with our family for twenty-four years, drove 349,217 miles as of the last time I recorded her odometer, but she was kicked to the curb because her power steering hoses were leaking.

For years I had nightmares that I betrayed Henrietta because I did not stand up to Mom. I was even experiencing the pain of grief for the first time in my life. I did not know grief would feel like physical pain in my chest. I would cry every time I saw another Tempo, and one time, I began crying when I saw men wearing mechanics' uniforms depicting the name of the dealership where Dad picked up Henrietta.

I went back to my old psychologist. I had to know, was I crying over a car, or was I projecting? After a few sessions, he said I was grieving over the Tempo. That was the last time I saw him. That day I planned my suicide but never attempted it. I was in a lot of pain.

Over time I came to believe that I was projecting after all. I saw Henrietta as a grandmotherly figure. Was I projecting my grief over the death of one or both of my grandmothers onto Henrietta?
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Re: Does Henrietta Fit In the System?

Postby Purplesky » Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:52 pm

A car or personification of a person onto an inanimate object is not part of a DID system. It likely is what you feel it was, part of grief related to memories over years of having driven it or in general having an attachment to something and letting go.
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Re: Does Henrietta Fit In the System?

Postby ArbreMonde » Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:22 am

It is normal to grow attached to objects that are important to us. Humans are very weird about that. We imagine that our stuffed toys have personalities and can feel sad if we forget to give them a hug. We give pet names and characters to our cars, boats, planes.

When we grow attached to an item or vehicule or other, of course we feel grief when we have to let them go.

It is possible you projected grief. It is also very likely that you genuinely cared for Henrietta because she was such an important part of your life. It is a human thing to genuinely care for toys, tools, vehicles... and grieve when we have to let them go.

I would not say it is a DID or system thing - it is a human thing. You might experience it strongly because you have DID, but all humans do experience similar griefs at some level.

Reading your story, Henrietta sounds like she was a badass car with a lot of character. I am happy for you that you got to share her life even though this time feels like it was too short.

I am sorry that you could not be the one who got to decide when it was time to retire her. Life can be cruel sometimes.
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Re: Does Henrietta Fit In the System?

Postby Arik » Fri Oct 15, 2021 6:53 pm

Thank you. Henrietta was more like a badass grandma. I mentioned Henrietta a couple of times in my dream journal.

Arik wrote:March 20, 2018

For years, I had nightmares about Henrietta, our 1986 Ford Tempo, and something terrible happening to her.

Recently I started to have pleasant dreams about her. Last night I had a dream that I entered her into a race for high-mileage cars. Henrietta lost to a number of Mercedes Benz that had even more miles on them. However, it was still a great race because Henrietta proved that she still got it.

Arik wrote:August 12, 2021

In last night's dream . . . I was back in time.

[Edit]

The scene changed. Still, back in time, I was now in the back seat of Henrietta, our 1986 Ford Tempo, as she was rolling off the Ford assembly line. Remembering that two objects cannot simultaneously occupy the same quantum state within a quantum system, I removed Henrietta's old set of keys from my pocket and compared them to her two new sets of keys. The keys were identical, except one set was worn and the other two shining, but nothing happened. I checked the Vehicle Identification Number of the Tempo I was in to ensure she was Henrietta, and it was her.

Next, Henrietta was at R. B. Ford, though, in real life, Dad got her from D. S. Ford. Mom was there, but I don't know if it was her from my time or 1985. I was allowed to drive Henrietta, and for the first time in years, I drove her, but this time as a new car, and I did so with her old keys.
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