The Crave Essay: The Breakdown


I ignored the light at first, putting it down to the hill I’d just climbed. But then I came to a flat stretch of road and the light on the dashboard lingered and so I change tactics, entrusting that the light was faulty and everything was tickety-boo under the hood.

On I went, skipping song after song, distracting myself from the red light, the broken, don’t need to worry about temperature warning light.

Wait a moment. The light has company. It’s orange and is in the shape of an engine.

Two faulty lights on a dashboard. What rotten luck. Oh well, they’ll come right. I’ll get to where I’m going, rest my head and allow the magic of the night to fix the problem. The night can do that. It’s magic, don’t you know.

Skippity skip with the music I press. Air con on and an open road ahead. Soon it’ll be time for lunch and after lunch can come episodes of that show everyone keeps telling me I must watch because if I don’t watch I won’t be part of everyone, I’ll be no one.


What’s the problem, dear car, do you have hiccups? Hold your nose and swallow at the same time and they’ll go away. You’ll be fine.


The nose holding didn’t work, did it?


You haven’t got hiccups, have you?


You’re about to die on me, aren’t you?


The car stops without me telling it to, though the lights stay on, mockingly so.

‘Don’t say we didn’t warn you,’ they say. ‘You should have listened. You should have acted before you…’

Broke down. That’s right. I should have acted before I broke down. Only I didn’t. And so I’m here, writing these words by the roadside, anticipating that whoever reads them picks up on the message that is not about a car, but about them or someone they know.

A message about warning lights and why not to ignore them.

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