Monday, July 10, 2006

We Drove that Car as Far as We Could

Once upon a time I bought a tape. It was a very old and very used tape that I got for a dollar at the local library. I bought it anyway, though, because it was the Allman Brothers and the Allman Brothers rule the world. And the tape, being as used as it was when purchased, died in stages.
As a matter of fact, the tape is still going through its slow process of dying.
I mention this because this tape, An Evening With The Allman Brothers--Second Set, taught me a valuable lesson. While inanimate objects may seem to die, they never actually do. The tape must have died on me at least four times and yet, every time I try to play it again, there are still some songs that play without squealing. The reason for this is because inanimate objects, much like cats, don't die easily.
My car and I have been through a lot and I never once thought about replacing it. It could only play tapes? That's cool, I can get dozens of those for $2.99 each. I need to park it in the Bronx? No worries for me...I never even locked it in my driveway. It got a tiny dent? That's okay, it's not exactly a spring chicken. I need to drive all the way up to Pennsylvania and back alone? No biggie, my car can make any drive feel like a roadtrip. And so we were--keeping each other happy and our relationship expectation-free.
But then, while driving to school the other day, my car radio fizzled into static and the airbag light started blinking. The wheel was difficult to manuever when I tried changing lanes and the light on the clock was fading. I pulled onto the shoulder of the Palisades to shut the engine and turned my hazards on. The car was so completely dead that I couldn't even get the windows up before turning the engine off. Then I sat at the side of the highway singing to myself and befriending a tiny flying creature. You see, my car might have been dead, but I wasn't upset. I knew better. My car was only playing dead. But it still had to be towed back upstate from exit one on the Palisades while my father drove me to school (thanks Daddy, you're awesome).
But alas, it appears as though my car wasn't actually faking it. It up and died on me after only a few short months of teasing me about dying on me. And so I was left, single and available, in the middle of a suburban summer with no ride. You know those movie break-ups where people sulk around their homes in flannel pj's and wadded up tissues in their hands? I've always wanted to try that form of self-pity. But as much as I tried not to get out of bed before my alarm rang, or to walk around with a semi-permanent frown, no such thing would happen. My loss wasn't going as planned.
I sat in front of my computer one day (read: today) and tried to figure out why I wasn't longing for my car outside of my selfish desire to have a way of getting out of the house. Then it hit me. My Allman Brothers tape spoiled me. My car was dead and gone, but I didn't really believe that it was dead or gone. I was still expecting it to show up on my driveway one morning all sparkling and clean begging for my forgiveness for having acted unreliable. And I knew that was going to happen. So I patiently waited and waited, borrowing my mother's car when need be, and expecting my car to show up at any minute.
Then my father called the garage and was informed that the guy who owns it is away in Florida. The truth started to sink in. He went away and didn't call to tell me what was wrong with my car. Perhaps it's not as easily fixable as I had previously thought. I tried getting my mind around that when my father called me on Friday afternoon.
"Would you be able to drive with me to the dealer?" he asked. "My new car is ready for me to pick up."
I told him I would and sang really loudly along with the music all the way there. He pulled into the parking lot, told me to enjoy my new car (formerly his car), and got out. I sat in the driver's seat for a while trying to figure out just how close to the wheel I wanted it. Then I pulled out onto the highway and tried adjusting my driving comfort to the ways of my new car. It's the same car I used to have in a different year and different color.
No more telling people, "it's actually not black; it's just a very dark green." No more telling people, "it's so retro it'll only tolerate tapes." No more telling people, "it was my dad's car." Oh no, wait...this one...nevermind.
The bottom line is that for a while there I just felt like I was in the zone (see Coupling, season one episode one), unsure about my relationship with my car but still too attached to move on. But no more. I have another car now, broken out of my Allman Brothers tape induced denial, and will move on. Mark my word, this new car and I--we're gonna go places.

1 original thoughts out there

Blogger Elster said...

Long story short - Sad end - happy begining.

And BVG, lose the word verification. That's so 2005.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 3:40:00 PM  

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