28 June 2007

Here in my car I feel safest of all*

*Cars, by Gary Numan

I miss my car. My car was my life. I had a cute zippy little Hyundai Excel 4-door sedan that could fit a couch in the trunk. Seriously, it was amazing what I could fit in that car! It was comfy, and the perfect size for my little legs. It was like it was designed just for me. Everything was right in reach - the radio buttons, the temperature controls, the seat adjustment knob. It was the first car I'd ever owned that I bought, I negotiated for, and was brand-new when I bought it.

I kept my rollerblades in my car, along with socks and sweatpants, so when the urge hit me, I could stop anywhere and go blading. When my car got broken in, the thief took all my toll change, went through my glovebox and made a mess of my cassettes*, pulled the back seat down and rummaged through my trunk, stealing my favourite Navy-issue wool blanket, he somehow missed my beloved blades.

My tent, sleeping bag, Coleman stove, and cooler all fit easily into the trunk, and me-n-my car would happily toddle off to riverbeds and forested remote areas to spend a weekend. After backpacking in the woods for 3 days, I could count on my car's back seat to be a perfect place to lie back, prop up my weary feet and rest a bit before driving home.

My stereo rocked; I could blast Zeppelin without any speaker distortion. My cassette case fit perfectly under the front seat, and I could pull it out and prop it up on the passenger seat without ever taking my eyes off the road.

During ice storms, when I lived in a very hilly area, I would stop my car and try to help people stuck at the bottom of the slippery hills. They would ignore the girl in the Korean car and keep spinning their wheels. I would smile and wish them luck as my little car rolled past them, and easily zipped me up the ice-covered hill.

When I backed my car out of the garage without opening the garage door first, my little car took out 4 panels of the 2-car door, and knocked it off the track, but didn't get even a little dent or scratch on the bumper.

My little car carried me all over the US. We'd go for little weekend jaunts, sometimes with a destination, sometimes not. Sometimes we'd visit far away friends, sometimes we'd just go exploring. My car never overheated in the boiling summer, never spun out in the rain.

The one time I stupidly drove after having one too many, my car got me home safely. I'm half-convinced my car yelled at me for being such a moron.

I carried everything in my car, yet it was spotless. I could drive forever in that car, but it would still only cost me $20 in gas.

My car gave me freedom. My car gave me power. When my car died, I cried a little bit. Okay, a lot. I got another car, second-hand, but it wasn't the same. I traveled, but my "new" car was just a place to stow my gear. I fixed my little car myself, but I couldn't figure things out in my "new" car. My "new" car didn't give me freedom. Or power. It wasn't my real car; it was just a way to get from point A to point B. It was too expensive to hop in and drive somewhere. I no longer have control of the direction my car and I travel.

Once, my body gave me freedom. It gave me power. I could walk for miles, blade for hours, ski across mountains. I could even use it to get stuff, if I wanted to (I did it once, and felt really awful after, so I never did it again.). Naturally, I assumed that when the time came, I could use my body to have children. Especially since it was Hubby who had the fertility issues, not me.

I feel like my body isn't my real body. It's just a thing to carry me from point A to point B. The power is gone. The freedom is gone. I no longer have control of the direction my body and I travel.

I miss my car.

* cassettes are ancient items that look like little tiny videotapes**. They hold music, one album*** per side. They used to be the only way to hear your own choice of music in the car. Most of us had gloveboxes or console boxes full of these little tapes.

** videotapes are not-so ancient items with movies on them that pre-date DVDs. You used to rent them at the videostore (that's why they're called "videostores" - neat, huh?). You could also buy blank ones that you could use to record tv shows. We were all so excited because you could fast-forward through the commercials.****

*** albums pre-date CD's. They were very big, about 12" in diameter, and were made of plastic, and then vinyl. They have lines in them that needles would "read" and translate into music. We would grab a stack of albums and merrily shlep them off to our friends' houses to listen to each other's music. We originated file-sharing by holding up microphones to the speaker and recording the albums onto cassette tapes for each other.

**** commercials are 30-second mini shows that interrupt tv shows every 3 minutes. Thankfully, because of TIVO and downloads, we don't have to be subjected to these horrid, mind-bending, ethics-distorting vignettes that make it impossible to follow the storyline on the actual tv show we're trying to watch.

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At 29/6/07 4:11 a.m., Blogger shanna said...

This post? Is very beautiful. Until you get to the footnotes, at which point it is just fucking hilarious.

At 29/6/07 5:27 a.m., Blogger Meg said...


At 29/6/07 1:34 p.m., Blogger Bea said...

I miss your car too. I hope you can... gosh, I'm not sure what I hope. I hope you can come to love the passenger? I hope you can gain a bit more control there at the wheel?

I hope you don't mind that I emailed your footnotes to Mr Bea because they were hilarious?


At 29/6/07 5:44 p.m., Blogger Rachel Inbar said...

Your post was beautiful and very, very sad. I hope your body will take you beautiful places and help you meet a really special small person...

On a lighter note, about your footnotes - picture me trying to explain to Israeli kids, in English, what it means to wind a watch. They were so clueless...

I think we're about the same age...

At 29/6/07 9:20 p.m., Blogger projgen said...

heh, I didn't think anyone else would think the footnotes were as funny as I thought they were!

Rachel, I have a pocket watch that winds, and every morning, waiting for the bus, I wind it. I get the funniest looks from the young 'uns who are trying so hard to figure out what I'm doing. (and by young 'uns, I mean 20-somethings)

And I just turned 42.

At 30/6/07 3:21 a.m., Blogger Nearlydawn said...

Very nice imagery - I could just see you in your little car. My friend seems to have had the sister to your car. It was a very fun thing, riding in her wonderful perfect car.

I am sorry that both your car and your body have let you down. There is nothing I can say that will make that any better.

I loved the notations... Those might just come in handy one day, when you are trying to explain cassettes!

At 3/7/07 12:29 a.m., Blogger Lut C. said...

Great story about your car.

I'm just catching up with you and am sad to read about your BFN. So sad.


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