I would like to preface this post that when I said this out loud to John, his response what a slight eyeroll and, “That is so you.”
I bought a new car. A Toyota Sienna to be specific. A brand new minivan that had a little over 200 miles on it before I sat in the driver’s seat. Now, I have a little guilt about getting a new car. It feels extravagant and wasteful and impractical when there are plenty of slightly used cars that would make more financial sense and mean I was reusing and not adding to the stuff on this planet.
But I have wanted to have a brand new car for a long time, and the reason is why John had the response he did. I wanted to own the whole story. Next to my house, my car is probably the place I spend the most time. I am sure I am not the only one. It can truly feel like a mobile home. I mean it’s a mess with wrappers and toys and empty cups too. Just like home. Things happen in cars. We laugh, we cry, we sing along, we debate, we listen. Often it is the only time I am close to sitting still in one spot all day long. Every car I have owned until now has carried other peoples’ stories. Stories I knew nothing about. Miles accompanied by the laughter, tears, and songs of others. And, of course, being me, I often made them up. For instance, The Orca, my last black Dodge Caravan, was purchased under pressure as my poor Cecelia, a spunky RAV4, had been totaled. I needed cheap, family friendly wheels. The Orca was the right price at the right time. It was also the lowest end model. There were no “extras”. It was very utilitarian. So I imagined it belonged to someone not expected to own a minivan. An older gentleman who just needed it to moved stuff around for some unknown business or bored retirement reason. Like bags of mulch or lots of fruit. Or something. I liked to believe that The Orca did not know love until we, my kids and I, slide back that door and tumbled in for the first time. I like to believe it put up with the mess and the dings and dents that lead to rust because it knew how much it was valued for the time it was part of our lives.
I am mourning The Orca a bit. (It is still in the driveway, waiting to be picked up for donation. To give you an idea of the service The Orca gave and the state it is now it, trade-in value was $300.)
But still, it had a life before us. A story not mine.
The Sienna, now Beauty (I’m not the only one who names cars, right? Right?), does not. Sure it was in a factory somewhere and a couple of sales lots and test drives, but that’s not a story. There is only waiting and wanting there. It is the puppy-in-the-window syndrome.That is only the set up for a story. The true story of Beauty began last Thursday when I sat, took at least two minutes to get the seat to move all the way up, and pulled out of the show garage. I will know everything that happens in the life of this car because it will be my life. I will listen to an unforetold number of audiobooks and podcasts. Car trips that will become part of family legend will take place in my new car. Heck, the day I got her, we took her camping. In the rain. Relationships will change in this car. My kids will grow out of car seats. They will turn into twee tweens and then sullen teenagers in this car. They’ll probably learn to drive in it. God help me, they’ll make out in this car. (Unless they are good nerds like I am trying to turn them into.) I plan on having Beauty until the bitter end, so my story will be her only story. Chances are when I do finally put her to rest, I will be starting an incredible new chapter of my life, maybe facing an empty back in my minivan, trying to figure out how to be me without daily physical mothering, perhaps downsizing cars an outward sign of acceptance of my children’s adulthood.
So, yeah, I anthropomorphize a lot.