Sunday, September 18, 2005

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die

The other night, Doc and I were settling in to watch a movie. This time it was "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou." I immediately felt a sinking feeling that I couldn't quite explain. That is, until I heard the opening tune "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and I was immediatly transported back to the year 2000. That summer I was in the market for a new car. My Dad, car shopper extrordinaire, agreed to help me with my Mom acting as our fact checker. We went to Columbus and began to prowl the auto malls that are concentrated in a five mile area.

We pulled into the first used car lot and the heavens opened when I spied this beauty: a 1998 metallic blue Saturn SC2. It was exactly what I was looking for, small, two door, manual transmission, with a CD player and a sun roof. I immediately heard the Temptations chime in with a chorus, "My car, my car, my car, talking bout my car, MY CAR!" But my Dad being my Dad, we couldn't just buy the first car we saw, we had to test drive a half a dozen more.

By the time we had done the research (Mom was checking insurance rates from the comfort of the Cherry Valley Lodge), we both decided that the SC2 was the one to get. We sat down with the dealer and worked out such a deal as I have never seen. It was the first time I'd been in a negotiation with a salesman where I felt like I was driving the conversation. We rocked. I drove that baby home with such a feeling of satisfaction and glee. I knew I had found the car that rivaled my first car (a 1979 Pontiac Firebird) as number one in my heart.

At the time I was living in the country and I enjoyed cruising the backroads, jamming my stereo. The CD of choice at the time was the soundtrack to O Brother. I had the sunroof open, the volume cranked and the engine humming. It was a perfect fit. The interior of the car was off white and pared down like a racecar. Nothing was on the dash other than what I needed. It was sublime.

A few short months later, I was leaving a board meeting that had gone horribly wrong. We were so prepared and ready to go. The board members attacked our program, even going as far as questioning the very foundation of what our program was built upon. We were beat up. It was probably around 6 or 7 in the evening as I got into my car and began to drive home, totally dispirited. As I approached the main road to begin my hour drive home, I came to a stop sign. To my right was a series of small businesses with a clear view of oncoming traffice. To my left, a giant, twelve-foot hedge and zero visibility.

I waited for a while and saw my boss drive by. She had wisely taken another route to this main road. There didn't seem to be much traffic at that time, so I decided I'd waited long enough and gunned it out to the road in order to turn left. Two seconds later, I experienced the most violent explosion of noise of shattered glass and bent metal. I tasted the powder that filled the air bag, which tasted a lot like a balloon: bitter and dry. I had been t-boned by a pick-up truck.

After a gruelling couple of hours, I was finally rescued by Doc in my reliable old VW Jetta, which was my least favorite car and his favorite. He picked me up and we headed home. I was uninjured and in awe of the constitution of that SC2. I could have been seriously hurt, but that little car took the brunt of the collision.

The next day, I went to the repair shop to see what the damage was and collect the stuff that I had left in it. When I saw the car I wept. It was a shadow of its former self. It was so destroyed that I felt very lucky to be alive. But the funny thing was, usually when you see a car this destroyed, everything about it looks horrible. But as I looked into the window, I saw the that the interior was still beautiful. The CD player was still intact. The carpet still clean. When I opened the door, I could still smell the foriegn, yet pleasant smell of a new car.

By the time everything was settled, the car was totaled. A week later, I received a check from the insurance company. The settlment was for $1000 more than what I payed for it! Even in death, this car was too good to be true. I ended up buying my parent's 1990-something Pontiac Bonneville, an old-fart mobile (no offense, Mom and Dad) if there ever was one. It had four doors, automatic transmission, power windows, power seats and was gigantic.

What can I say, I had lost my true love car. I've tried to repress the memories, I've tried to move on. But certain triggers, like O Brother, make me feel very quickly sad and full of grief. I long for those days of zooming around Wilkins Corners, signing along with "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" or "I'll Fly Away". I'm not sure I'll ever be over the loss of it and I don't know if I will ever find another car like it. A car so martyred that not only did it give its life in order to save mine, it also left me with a thousand dollars to help ease the emotional damage I had suffered. So long, SC2, I hardly knew ye.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Riley's First Day of School

Today Riley starts nursery school. She says she's nervous and worried. (She's three years old, people!) I asked her what she was worried about. She said that she was afraid that the boys would chase her. I told her, if they were chasing her, she just had to tell them to stop it and if they didn't stop, she should tell her teacher. That seemed to satisfy her. But everytime I bring up school, she says she's nervous. I'm not sure if she really is nervous or if she's playing. Sometimes she tries emotions and attitudes out, she practices feeling certain ways.

I wish I could be there but I can't get out of work today. But my Mom is coming to town and they will probably all go with her. The teachers ask that a parent stay there for the whole time the first week, in order to ease any separation anxiety. It's a co-op nursery school so they will give Doc something to do while he waits for her to finish her first day of school. He will be serving cutting duties. Perhaps Mom and Lucy will stay at the school, too.

I can't wait to hear all about what happened, although, I'm not sure I'll have any reliable witnesses. Doc usually goes with the flow and won't say anything more than, "Everything went fine, we had a good time." I want details. Hopefully, my Mom will go; she's a sponge. I know I'll get the complete picture from her. And Riley? She's like her daddy. I don't imagine I'll find out much from her either.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Home Base

This past weekend we were privileged to play host to Madame E, ERR, ERR's mother and sister and sister's boyfriend. They were in and out all weekend for a wedding that had more events than a pre-k beauty pageant. But, while they were there, we got to visit with our old friends and our new ones. These fine folk were also happy to pitch in with advice or back strength while Doc and I painted. Now that the house looks so wonderful, I'm loathe to leave it.