Friday, December 19, 2014
Look, I'm terrified of driving. As much as I hated relying on full buses & delayed Metro trains to take me where I needed to go, one of the best things about living in a city was not driving. I'm not very good at it, & I am very, very anxious about it (you're shocked, I know).
But you can't live in the suburbs of Ohio without a car. You just can't. For four weeks, I've lived like a 15-year-old, relying on my mother to drop me off everywhere & coordinating our schedules so I could borrow her car for a taste of independence every now & then. Cars are expensive, & car-shopping is terrifying, & I am not a fan of driving, but the suburbs don't care about any of that. I had to get a car, & soon.
After a frantic Facebook post about my plans to shop for a car on my own, my uncle offered to accompany me. He did all kinds of research, found a few cars he liked for me, & we went out for a few test drives on Monday night. I found a blue 2011 Mazda 6 I liked (zoom, zoom), & we made plans to go back & seal the deal on Thursday. I was excited to be able to get places without my mother's assistance, but I wasn't necessarily excited about having a car - mostly because I was (am) still terrified of everything that accompanies the having of a car.
I talked to my therapist about some of my nervousness surrounding the whole process - getting a loan, signing my life away, making huge payments every month, &, especially, trying my damndest not to die in a fiery car accident (which is my biggest fear). Last night, when the car was finally in my possession, I told her that I was afraid to drive it because it seemed likely that I would mess it up somehow - that I would quickly destroy this pretty, shiny, new thing that I just spent a startling amount of my money to obtain.
She told me a story of her own Mazda, purchased brand new a few years ago, which she immediately drove to a relative's house for a visit. When she came outside a few hours later, she discovered that someone had backed into her brand new car while it was parked in the street. It wasn't totaled, but she did need to get a new bumper - less than 24 hours after getting the car. The moral of the story, of course, is that shit happens, & that you can't always control it, no matter how hard you try. And that cars are just material things - expensive material things, but material things nonetheless.
I was trying to remind myself of her guidance as I sat in my new car today, trying to psych myself up to drive it. I couldn't get it to warm up, couldn't figure out how to defrost my back window, etc. etc. etc. As I flipped through the user's manual, I remembered something I'd left inside, & I got out of the car to run back into the house. That's when I saw it.
Shit. Everywhere. Literal shit.
Turns out, I stepped in a pile snow-covered dog doo in our driveway, likely deposited by my neighbor's tiny canines. And it was everywhere. All over the ground, all over my favorite black boots - and all over my pretty new car. Just... a big pile of shit, smeared into the driver's-side floormat the way an infant uses fingerpaints.
I called my mom. I sobbed. I got some carpet cleaner, & I scrubbed. I looked into the cost of having a singular floormat professionally cleaned. And then I sucked it up, wiped away my runny mascara, cleaned off my shoe... & laughed. Because what else can you do? At least I didn't have to replace my bumper.
Shit happens, man. Sometimes I feel like it happens to me a lot more than it does to the general populace, but it sure does give me a lot of stories to tell. I mean, of course I covered my new car in dog crap within 12 hours of purchasing it. Of course I did.
So much for that new car smell.