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car me

My cockpit.


I must riff on Julie’s post from yesterday about her car, because I counter her disdain of driving with a kicky passion for it that rivals the romance a pilot must have with taking to the skies in his or her plane. For me, a wheel in hand, and a road ahead, unfailingly filters life’s daily pummels.

I adore my car. I do not have the hip convertible that Julie has (I have my hip, though), but I do have a posh, black … SUV. I’ve had it for three years now. It was my first new car in ten years, and as soon as I brought it home, it would instigate head-scratching among some friends: “Why did you buy another “mom car?” (It’s not a “mom car,” thank you, because it’s not a minivan.) And it does not holster sippy cups, and the seats are never sticky.

It’s neither garish, nor gigantic, but it’s roomy enough to lug my stuff, and generous enough in height to allow a view from above on the highways. And after years of driving the family car, in which I taught my sons to drive, and subsequently shared with them so often that it became more their locker room, and less my wheels, for the first time in decades, I have a car that is mine. Just mine.

It has become a salve to some of the wallops life has thrown my way lately. My car has become the one thing to which I am a coxswain. It is my trusty vessel. It takes me wherever I want to go. It stays where I put it. I can lock out anyone I choose. It’s cool in the summer;warm in the winter. The top doesn’t come off, but it has a hole in the roof that lets in the wind without messing my hair. I can make phone calls in it, ask it directions; listen to music and scream-sing along with abandon. It doesn’t lie, manipulate, talk back or ask for money. (It’s paid off.) And it’s fast. I can merge, slow down, cut off, and speed up as I choose. Or I can just sit in it in my garage and talk to myself. I don’t need it to commute to work, so the milage is low, and gas-guzzling is kept at bay. I plan to keep it forever.

So, in mid-life, when the road ahead can be bumpy, and there’s a need to put the brakes on it all for a bit, it’s my car that often steers me away for a while.