Thursday, December 2, 2010

Driving a Car

There are few things in the world that I enjoy more than driving a car. So, as you can imagine, this last month during which I've been without a car, has been incredibly hard for me, lots of frustrated worrying about when my ride is going to get here, lots of toe-tapping and wristwatch-looking, unspent time between being ready to leave and leaving. My ride was reliable, but not a mind-reader. When I get my coat on, I expect to walk out the door.

About two days ago I got a new car. New for me, probably junk to anyone else, but I love it. It's a 1991 Toyota 4Runner. It's got a lot of miles on it, but since it's a Toyota I'm praying for longevity. It's got these wheels that are so big they look silly to me and require me to grab on to the roof and climb into the drivers seat. It's red, like tomato red, not maroon.

I've always driven small cars. Everyone who knows me probably knows me as a small-car person, but I'm not. I've wanted a 4Runner, an old one, for a long time. Nobody knows it, but it suits me perfectly, with the exception of the after-market tires which are, like I said, silly. It's capable of a lot, all the four-wheel drive and multiple shifting options, none of which I'll ever use, but I feel safe knowing they're there. Lots of potential, but untapped, and not flaunted. It's got a sunroof and automatic windows and locks, but all-in-all the frills are kept to a minimum and they're easily overlooked due to the age of the car. It's simple, functional.

And now that I've got a car I can start running errands for work, which is one of my favorite things to do. For one thing, there's little better than getting paid to drive. Today it was the post office. I made a CD to listen to in the car. So, I had my new car with my new music. The sun made it warm enough to roll the window down. And for the first time in a long time I was driving. I love to drive. I thought it was something I'd get over when I turned 16 1/2, but I love driving just as much now as I did when I got my learners permit. I like sitting still and yet being in motion. Doing something that requires attention, but not concentration. Being out in the world, but inside a little protective bubble.

I just didn't have to think about anything, driving to the post office. I was listening to Bran Van 3000, the shopping song, whatever the name of it is. My hair was kind of down, but kind of up, kind of a mess really. I wasn't smiling but just looking around like, "right now, everything is okay." I felt totally unencumbered, not quite carefree, but purposeful, capable of a lot, but as if I could handle it, full of untapped potential, pretty but minimal and easily overlooked. Simple, functional.

Driving a car, my car, listening to music, my music, is about the best therapy I can have. There's nothing in the world that I have to do besides keep that car on the road. I'm just driving, just me, in motion. Maybe some people feel that way about their bicycles, or riding the train. Transportation is all kind of like that I guess. What's nice about a car is that you're alone, which is good in itself, but it also means you can sing at the top of your lungs.

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