Are YOU my Mama? Driving.
Buying a car changed my life.
I was in college, and really didn’t think I needed a car. I was accustomed to public transit–any trip taking a thooooooooousand years was just part of life. But my brother was selling Natasha, and he felt strongly that I needed the experience of car ownership. So I used some of my student loan money to buy her, and even learned to drive her. And my brother was right–having a car opened my world up. I had more fun the two years between getting Natasha and starting grad school than…ever before. I’d tended to think of fun as a thing other people could have but that I could not, because it was too expensive, or required inconveniencing others, or because I needed to WORK all the time. But getting a car showed me that actually, fun is there to be had…by people with cars, anyway. I went camping! And to the grocery store! I drove people places instead of quietly hoping they’d offer to drive me places! I went out at night!
Eventually I was forced to sell Natasha because I couldn’t afford the endless repairs. Soon after, I met Mr. Bunny. His car, The Eel*, has been my Car By Proxy ever since. But he’s always been a little irritable about the fact that being a one car family requires a certain amount of complication. I resisted getting another car, fearing that if I had one I’d drive everywhere instead of walking. And there was a nice period when it seemed we didn’t even need the car we did have, we left the house so rarely. But when Bun Bun had to start going to weekly physical therapy appointments because of her torticollis, I capitulated. We got a second car, The Black Eel.
Having The Black Eel has highlighted the fact that my world has become amazingly CLOSED. It’s not just the fact that I’ve put, like, five miles on the car in the past year and a half. It’s things like the fact that I know exactly how many songs I can fit into the drive to the grocery store (1.75), because an important part of having a car is rocking out. And the fact that I have to cue up the very BEST 1.75 songs, because when I’ve got so few, I can’t listen to just any old songs. And the fact that I have to rock out quietly, because of the babies, and half the time I have stop rocking out to listen to static, because it’s Bunlet’s preferred sound. And the fact that I know all the places where instead of being a 25mph zone, it’s a 35 mph zone, so I can reeeeeeeeally take advantage of the fact that I got a zippy car instead of a maximally practical one.
Last week I went somewhere far and got to listen to three or four songs, and when I got there, I was like I’m not ready yet, I want to listen to MORE SONGS and enjoy that Driving Feeling, so I’ll just keep going, because across the freeway there’s a big park, so I can just drive around for a while, but when I got across the freeway the road to the park had been closed. All metaphorical and shit.
Of course, it’s not about driving, it’s about Ye Olde Loste Youthe. I miss the version of me who could leave the house thinking I’d just take a drive and end up at at Lake Tahoe (my, it’s blue!) because I wasn’t ready to stop driving until then.
And of course, even as I miss that person, I know that I no longer have it in me to do such things. I don’t even WANT to, all I want is sleep. And I wouldn’t trade this for any number of songs.
*Because he’s green, like an eel…isn’t actually.