Justin Tadlock

A Little Low on Life, Liberty, & Happiness

He looked over at me, hands on his hips, and said, “It looks like your radiator is leaking.”

“We got some leakage,” the man below said, referring again to the antifreeze oozing out of my car.

I figured they’d say I was a little low on oil, which was why I was getting my oil changed today. I had my reponse all worked out. I’m also a little low on gas, money, and life. What else is new?

Radiator trouble though. Well, I can’t fix that, seeing as how I’m down to about my last $20 or so. See me when I get the electricity, water, phone, cable, and groceries paid for. Oh, and get some gas.

The mechanic ran me through the steps to keeping my car running — carry a gallon of water, make sure there’s fluid over the little thingy where you put the water in, and check it before you drive anywhere.

What fun! I’m going from barely knowing how to put gas in the car and change a tire to filling up the radiator with water.

Any week but this one. Of course, I would say that any other week also. But, this is definitely not the week for this to happen. I have a newspaper project, two papers, and an essay take-home test all due between Thursday and next Monday. I can’t have car trouble.

Let me take a look at how my day’s been so far. I get up at 5:30 this morning, realize why all my books in my bookbag had gotten wet. I left a drink in there, without screwing the top on all the way. Okay, not the smartest thing to do. I take care of that — wash and dry it. No big deal. I decide I can’t get too frustrated over it because I’ve got work to do today.

I arrive on campus at 7:50. I was running a little late because I had to wait for my bookbag to dry. Well, my car has some smoke coming from under the hood. I had 10 minutes to make the near-mile walk to the library for work. I decide I’ll take care of it later.

11:00 — I’m off work and have decided to take the car to see about the oil. I had thought that was what was wrong with it since I haven’t changed it in a while. Surprise, surprise! Your radiator’s leaking, Justin.

I can’t wait for the next thing that will invariably go wrong.

Yes, I’m a little low on life right now. I’m definitely restrained by not having the money to simply take care of things like a radiator, and I am controlled by the unlucky events that come my way. Therefore, I’m a little low on liberty. Since I’m a little low on life and those aforementioned events block any sort of freedoms I thought I had, I’m a little low on happiness at the moment. (Note that I am not talking about “the pursuit of happiness” because that is a little more about the freedom to pursue work. However, if I can’t drive to interviews after I graduate in order to get a job, I’ll be denied that also.)

Give me a few days or a few dollars and maybe I won’t be so stressed out.