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A car is for a season; your eye is for a lifetime
Many years ago before the coming of the expressways, nearly all the roads in the country were single carriageways with one lane running in each direction. The bridges were narrow and could take only one vehicle at a time. The first vehicle to get onto the bridge would pass through while that coming from the opposite direction had to wait at the foot of the bridge on the other side until the crossing was completed before taking its turn.
There weren’t many cars in those days and articulated vehicles were few and far between. A journey of about 400km could take about 8 hours.
I set out from Ibadan for Enugu at 6am on that memorable day. Just before getting to Ore, about 120km from Ibadan, the rain started to fall. To my utter dismay, my windshield wipers failed to work. After a short distance I had to pull off the road because of poor visibility. I was on the same spot for over two hours before the rain abated and I was able to continue my journey.
About a few kilometres from Benin City, one of the rear tyres burst; the car wobbled for some seconds while I slowed down and gradually came to a stop without the brakes. I got out of the car to open the trunk to take out the spare tyre and jack. I almost fainted when I discovered that the car jack was missing and the spare tyre was flat.
I spent the next one hour trying to flag down other cars to give me a helping hand. Fortunately I met a compassionate driver who loaned me his spare tyre and took me to the next village where I got my tyre fixed and returned his.
I looked at the time; it was about 2.30pm. I was tired, thirsty and famished but had to go on. The remaining stretch of road, about 150km, was tortuous, treacherous and dangerous at night.A few minutes later the oil pressure light on the dashboard came up. That meant serious engine trouble. I pulled over and after the engine had cooled down checked oil level. There wasn't any oil in the engine and I had none in the trunk!
Once again I became a roadside beggar. By the time I was able to get some oil it was about 6pm. Then the car wouldn’t start and had to be towed to Enugu. We arrived in Enugu at 11pm,17 hours after setting out from Ibadan.
“What did I do wrong?” I asked the audience. “Sir,” replied Little John candidly, “You were careless with your car. You didn’t do maintenance checks. Mr.Tobih added his voice, “He is correct. I make routine checks on my car every morning before I drive off; check the coolant and water levels; check the tyres, the engine oil, brake fluids and lights. The car is serviced by a competent motor mechanic every 5,000km and every 50,000km a major overhauling is done. I have used the car for about 20 years and clocked over 205,000km. Never once did I have a break down on the highway! The car is now old and becoming more expensive to maintain. I plan to sell it off and buy a new one.”
I couldn’t help thinking out loud, “A car is for a season; well maintained it will last for years but eventually will succumb to the forces of disintegration. The various components will begin to fall apart. Our bodies and eyes are made to last a lifetime. With a good maintenance culture as shown by Tobih we should all stay sighted till the last day of the end of our lives.
My dear reader, when last did you have a general medical examination? When was your blood pressure checked last? Your eyes whether open or shut are working round the clock, 24 hours a day. When did you have them checked? Tobih didn’t wait for trouble to come; he prevented trouble by pre-emptive checks of his car and had a smooth and unhindered ride for 20 years.
He didn’t have to go through all the troubles I went through with my car on that memorable journey to Enugu. If you are under 40 years you must have an eye examination at least once in two years; above 40 years once a year is recommended. Remember, a car is for a season but your eyes are for a life time.Share