I’ll get into the “why” and “how” soon enough (too soon), but the point is that I very well might be getting a car in three weeks.
I have never owned a car before.
My driver’s license test took place on my 21st birthday and, after wobbling my way through a spectacularly pathetic attempt at parallel parking, the driving instructor said these exact words to my mother:
“I’m gonna give it to her, but don’t cut her loose yet.”
Since that day, I’ve never had reliable access to a vehicle. (I’M POOR, OKAY?) So, I walk. I take the train and the bus, I call Lyft and Uber, I rely HEAVILY upon the kindness of my friends and family. Since college, I have just figured it the fuck out. I have taken hour and a half MARTA trips to auditions that lasted just ten minutes. I have walked two and a half miles to work in 94 degree heat, because I didn’t think I could justify the expense of the Lyft ride.
But I am weary. My feet are sore and torn up and my legs are tired and I am fantasizing about what it will be like to be behind a wheel, the A/C blasting in my face, an iced coffee beside me, whatever song I want playing at me as loud as I want, and the road before me.
loos’d of limits and imaginary lines
I am excited about the prospect of something like freedom, of something like control. I told my therapist that I had a silly daydream and I also told her that maybe I wouldn’t tell anyone else about it, but, I mean, it’s YOU and I tell you everything, my heart.
When this car (this dark blue 2010 Nissan Altima, to be precise; details are fun) shows up in my life, I fantasize about being comfortable right away. (I’m so fucking terrified. I have always been terrified of driving, of cars. Maybe I’m just terrified of being able to go wherever I would like.)
I daydream that it takes me just a single weekend to be an ace behind the wheel. I yearn for three days in which to feel comfy on the highway. Just three.
And then I will wake up under the cover of darkness. Maybe I won’t go to sleep at all. I will pack my mask, of course, and I will follow all the rules, I promise you. I will find a gas station, because those will be relevant to me now, and I will buy the biggest gas station coffee I can get. I will blare ELO and Elton John and all my favorites to keep myself awake. I won’t tell anyone, because it will be a sacred secret between me and the road. I’ll just go. I won’t worry. I will be brave and certain.
I’ll get myself to the Magic Kingdom just as the sun rises.
And I will sit on Main Street with a Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll and I will look at something lovely. I might not ride anything. (Okay, except for the Haunted Mansion, I KNOW WHO I AM.) I just want to sit and be and breathe. I want to prove to myself I can get there. Prove to myself that I am willing to go to strange and specific lengths to demonstrate my own self-love.
At home, my stomach hurts. My eyes are weak from crying and my stomach hurts. I feel trapped and small within my own brain. I crave the space which has always been most beautiful to me, ever since I was small. I long to sit with my cinnamon roll and my journal and to freely wonder, “How’s it going? What’s next? Where are we going?”
Because I might finally have the means to go, you know what I mean?
And oh, I will pick you up and take you anywhere you want to go. Do you need to see the beach at 3 in the morning on a Thursday? Okay, we’re going. You have taken care of me for so long and now, maybe, I can help you, too.
What are rules right now anyway? What is time? What if we just drove and drove and drove? What if we sang along all night to David Bowie and drank gas station coffee until we felt okay again?
Uncle Walt, again, always: