I found it interesting that when I went to turn on the headlights in the MGB, the ignition engaged and the car started. No need for the key, just make sure she’s in neutral, flip the switch and she growls to life.
At first I thought this was happening because Bethany was in the car – not that her wiring isn’t as screwey as the car’s is, but rather that she’d reached under the dash again and pulled herself a handful of wires. She’d done that before you know…I thought she was reaching for the warm air coming from the heater but no, she was ripping wires out from under the dash. Suddenly I couldn’t use the turn signals and the dash lights went dark. In true Fik fashion, rather than just patching the ripped wires I had to go and repaint the entire car, overhaul the interior vinyl and carpet, rebuild the windshield and buy a new canvas top. Hey, if a little’s good, a lot…is a lot. Funny thing; after all that I still had to fix the broken wires.
Now, having the engine start by simply flipping a light switch is a weird mix between surprise and delight on one hand, frustration and anger on the other. Same thing with Bethany, flip a switch – say the “joy” switch and you get something completely different.
For her, life must be hell and I guess the MG is a perfect metaphor for her. I doubt the engineer of the car intended it to start that way and I know the starter doesn’t much care for the arrangement either. Too many inputs place way too much strain on the wires, switches and gears – you can feel it in the temperature of the components. When Bethany mis-fires, it’s the same thing; all the gears over-engage, the wires all over heat and simply put, bad things happen. While I can replace broken components on the car – it’s not so easy with “B”. She’s blinded herself in one eye through hitting and detached the retina in the other – multiple times. She’s blackened eyes, arms, legs, abdomen, torn countless sets of clothes off and has broken many a heart along the way.
Somehow though, she always comes out smiling. Just like the MG, later it starts up with the key and putters happily; so Bethany picks herself up, laughs and hollers “Prate!” (“Prate” is Bethanese for “I’m hungry now and you need to figure out what that means”.)
The ambiguity, absurdity and surprise that this causes simply twists my mind. I can barely comprehend the violent mental mis-fires she experiences let alone the bizarre swing back into the world of the joyous, only to drop back into sorrow.
Perhaps that’s why she likes riding in that little car – its wiring and hers are so similar, familiar, and comforting in their complexity.