Want to Feel 16 Again?

Here’s what you do: take your car in for necessary and expensive repairs that require difficult-to-locate parts, then just sit back and wait. And wait. And WAIT for three days while they fob you off with promises that it’ll be done “by 2:00″ “before we close tonight” “probably tomorrow” and, finally, “I’m not sure, maybe Monday, would you like to borrow a loaner?”

You’ve always meant to try out the public transportation options for getting to work, and here’s your chance! Public transport is good””for your community, for your wallet, for the environment! Have fun getting up an hour early and leaving the house before your alarm clock would normally go off. Enjoy the “˜free time’ you gain when your normal 20-minute door-to-door commute becomes an hour-long bus ride, with bonus 10-minute walk! Just think what you can do with two whole hours a day “˜given’ back to you””you can read! You can iPod! You think you can knit, but NO! The bus is full and you don’t have the elbow room to work on anything””not to mention, you really don’t want the twitchy meth lady in the seat ahead of you to lay eyes on the needles and get any awkward notions in her head.

Bum rides off the boyfriend and your co-workers when you just can’t face the bus again. Drop in on the dealer the day the car is due to be ready “by 2:00″ and hang around until they finally tell you at 4:15 that the parts they got in don’t fit, maybe they’ll get the right ones tomorrow. Start entertaining notions of demanding the release of your hostage vehicle now! Feel the early pangs of mourning for the car you now realize you’ve been taking for granted. All those times you looked on the Mini Cooper with lust in your heart, what were you thinking?! You have a perfectly good, dependable little car right here, and you deserve everything you’re getting now for even thinking about trading it in on some flashy little number. Have you no loyalty?

Just about the time you think you’re going to snap completely and either cry, or start throwing things, or both, the guy at the counter says “You’re ready to go.” You hand over the credit card, they hand over the keys, and you walk out to the lot, seeing your little burgundy baby with new eyes. It’s a good little car, a sweet car. It needs gas (yay! You get to fill up the car with gas!) and definitely deserves a washing””you’ll get right on that. You walk around it once, eyeing it critically for anything that would be best to mention before you drive off the lot. It’s going to need new tires soon, but that can wait a little while.

Now comes the good part, the energizing influx of body-memories from a younger self. You get in, and pull your seat up where you like it. You adjust the mirrors all around. You get your iPod set to a favorite artist, strap in, and head out, slowly, testing the new brakes and listening for the squealing and squeaking that sent you in for repairs in the first place. They’re gone. The car feels solid, good, happy to be running again. You pull out into traffic as carefully as you did the first time Mom let you drive the car to the store all by yourself. You and the car fall right back into sync as you hit the highway, headed toward home. You crank up the Ziggy Stardust, and you fly.

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3 Responses to Want to Feel 16 Again?

  1. CountessZ says:

    The joy of driving is such an indispensible part of youth. Anytime I am tempted to believe I could actually live without a car, I usually find myself in a situation where I am stuck waiting, waiting, waiting and unable to go anywhere.

  2. kaizerin says:

    It’s good to get knocked out of the routine now and then–makes you appreciate how good you’ve got it. I got the car back on Saturday afternoon, and the following Monday morning, I was like, “I’m a-gonna DRIVE my CAR to WORK, woo-hoo!” Not my usual Monday-morning attitude. 🙂

  3. Ramona the Mobile says:

    Kai – I hope you will find a different repair shop before you need work done again. It is easy in a small town. Still, possible in a city.
    I remember not having a car in the city; either walking to work or taking the bus; even biking a few times. Doable. But oh, the absolute feeling of FREEDOM once I had wheels again! I suppose that is why we privileged Americans will not lose our dependence on oil.

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