About one month ago, I drove out of the dealership lot in my new MINI Cooper S, pepper white, black top, black interior. I was lurching a little, still unused to my manual transmission. I think the last manual I drove was my former spouse's 1972 VW camper van, and that beast is a story in and of itself. Let's just say I would get in the far right lane on the freeway and stay there for as long as I could, ignoring the honks and praying that there would be no inclines to try to rev up over.
Back to the MINI. I drive it home, parked it, and there it was, the first car I ever bought on my own. Every car before had been a car I bought with my husband or a car my mother gave me. This car was mine.
I wasn't sure I liked it.
Michael told me that when he bought his car, his first since his marriage ended, he had the feeling of true freedom. He felt as though he'd let go of his past, his marriage, a lot of baggage. A ton of baggage, literally.
I walked around the car. What did it mean to me? I wasn't sure, but I started to find things I missed about my old car. The power seats. The feeling I was driving a comfortable couch down the freeway. The MINI is close to the ground, fast and darting. Potholes and I have a new relationship. Every part of the road is always apparent. When I drive around in this tiny thing, I feel small, slightly insignificant. In my old car, I was planted on the road, solid, firm. I was "there."
In this car, I was like a wriggling child trying to get off Grandpa's lap.
I kept driving, and then a few days ago, Michael asked, "Don't you love your car?"
And I said, "No. I like it a lot. But I don't love it."
And then, saying it, I was able to talk about my old car and how I had loved it. It had been comfortable and sturdy and known, and I missed the ease and familiarity. I had to work at the MINI. It was effort. I had to learn new feelings, and it was sometimes a struggle. I didn't recognize it when I went into the parking lot at work, surprised every time that I was searching for it.
After scanning the lot for my Volvo, I would see the MINI parked just where I left it, this tiny white and black thing. My new car.
Saying all of that aloud, admitting my disenchantment made me feel better, and of course I started to see the metaphor right away. My old car was like my old life. Comfortable and known and sturdy and easy. My MINI is like now, shiny and new and scary and irritating and often unknown. More work than I'm used to, but what an exciting ride.
Okay, then, I thought, driving around, knowing that by saying I didn't love the car I was allowing myself to feel more about it. And I don't know if I ever want it to become known. I want the wildness under me, the new feeling, a different ride than I have ever had before.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org