The time is 6:30 AM, and I am covered in the morning dew–my daily ritual is beginning. I’m splayed out in the parking lot of the Pleasant Glen apartment complex, just lying there as water collects on my skin.

My owner and her family come out to meet me, and my face lights up at the sight of them. Doors unlock, slam.

“Get your seatbelt fastened! We’re already late,” says my owner—Jane.

My name is Dora, and I am a Ford Explorer. It was Jane’s daughter that called me Dora first, and it’s the name I identify with the most. I’ve been called a lot of other names as well, but I won’t repeat those–what happens in the car stays in the car.

Jane turns the key in the ignition, and I sputter before turning on. Headlights on, a swipe of the windshield. A systems check. Get those seatbelts on, kiddos–I flash the seatbelt light furiously until they click their belts.

Uh-oh: the front right tire has low pressure.

Jane needs to be alerted, so I light up the low pressure light on the instrument panel.

“Ah, shoot,” says Jane. Good, she noticed. “Joey, get out and kick the tires to see if any of them look low.”

Joey hops out and looks around. He kicks my tires, one by one, circling around. Getting back inside, he says, “The one in the front on my side looked a little low, but the rest were fine.”

“Well, it should be enough to get y’all to school then,” says Jane. She shifts to reverse, and I begin to back up. I don’t think this is a good idea, but I always obey what Jane says to do–it’s one of my best characteristics.

Jane signals me to go forward, and I pull away at a good clip. Jane always wants me to go faster than I want to–ignoring most speed limits, but it’s a forgivable trait for me. At least she uses her turn signals.

Barrelling down the highway, I see it’s going to be a beautiful day–58 degrees, and I notice my MPG’s are up to 22, which is a good streak–Jane gave me high-octane fuel when she refueled me last time, so that has helped. The road is slick, but my tires have little wear, so I enjoy the traction.

Everything is good except the front right tire–I’m concerned about that one. Suddenly, I hear a bang, and I lurch involuntarily to the right. Jane stifles an exclamation of dismay and slows down, heading towards the shoulder of the road. It irritates me, because (like I said before), I’m a very obedient vehicle. But this time, I couldn’t help it. I come to a complete stop.

“Do we have a flat tire, Mommy?” says Tricia from the back seat.

“We do, honey,” says Jane. “Now be quiet while Joey and I get out the spare.”

It’s a long process, and I can’t do anything to help, so I just sit back and take a moment to rest while Jane and Joey take care of the problem. Soon, they’ve attached the new tire. It feels weird, foreign, like putting a new shoe on just one foot–at least, that’s what I imagine it would feel like, if I was a person. It’s smaller too.

I just hope that Jane remembers that she’s not supposed to go as fast on a spare tire–it can be bad.

With the punctured tire in the trunk, we take off once again–20-35-45-60, then even higher. Nope, Jane definitely did not consult the user guide. I can sort of sympathize, but sometimes I wished Jane followed the rules more–things tend to go better.

We arrive at school, and Joey and Tricia hop out.

“Have a good day, you two,” says Jane. “I’ll pick y’all up at 2:30, just like normal.”

It’s just another successful expedition completed–a morning in the life of a car.

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