Thursday, December 2, 2010


See? This is already difficult. Day two and I've no idea what I'm about to write. In fact, I've no idea why I should write at all. Blah blah blah etc etc etc angst angst angst. Oh, DEAR.

I've been perusing cars for sale on Craigslist and I'm just a tad overwhelmed. Maybe a tad and a half, to be honest. The last (and ONLY) time I bought a car I was fresh out of college and the world was my oyster. I was desperate to have a Honda Civic. I didn't look at any other type of car. My friend Kristi had a Honda Civic that I used to borrow when I was a student, and I just LOVED her car. I loved the way it drove, I thought it was absolutely adorable, and I knew (the way someone who really doesn't care much about cars, generally, as long as they get from point A to point B in one piece) that Hondas were supposed to be great, reliable, safe vehicles. I *wanted* a brand-new green Honda Civic, the same way I *wanted* to go to Kenyon, the same way I sometimes wake up *wanting* hot dogs and hot chocolate (okay, that happened once. But it's the same feeling.) This is the kind of want that is plain as day, easily identified, no gray area. You want something so, so much that you'll do whatever you have to do to GET IT. The END. So when I found out that all I needed to drive a new green Honda Civic off the lot was a college degree, $500.00, and a documented job offer, I was a woman on a mission. It was some recent college graduate special the Dublin, Ohio Honda dealership was running. So I spent the summer of 1999 waiting tables at Max & Erma's, sending my resume to any and every admissions posting in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and double checking that I had, in fact, received a college degree (hey, my diploma is in Latin, it could have said something along the lines of "nice try, but too bad" for all I knew!) By mid-July I had the cash, by late-July I had three job offers and on August 16, 1999 (I've no idea WHY I remember the date, actually) I drove my brand-spanking-new-bursting-at-the-seams-with-all-of-my-shit Honda Civic from Columbus to Chicago and started Life.

There's all this hoopla surrounding leaving home and going off to college - trust me, I worked in college admissions for ten years, I know - but I think the real hoopla, at least for those of us from a midwestern suburb who go to a cushy liberal-arts school, is when you leave school at start living as an adult. An adult who rents a place to live and sleep, buys groceries, gets up and goes to work, pays the cable/electric/water/telephone/insurance bill, etc. etc. etc. THAT is the REAL transition. When I first moved to Chicago and started working at Lake Forest College I stayed in the guest house on campus while I looked for an apartment, so for about two weeks, my car was my refuge. Living in a college guest house really doesn't offer the comforts of a home, so I found those comforts in my little Honda as we explored Chicago together. And really, my car was my refuge every day since, in each of the four states I've called home.

I'm actually starting to feel excited about getting a new (to me) car, though. It kind of fits the general trajectory my life has been taking for awhile now - clean breaks, fresh starts. new, new, new everything. New career, new home, new attitude, new perspective... and now a new car. In a lot of ways it's terrifying to be starting over on every single level, but it's also thrilling. I told someone the other day that I just have to look at life as limitless possibility, otherwise there is just no point. I'm hopeful. I'm so, so hopeful. And isn't hope the only thing that really matters?

My little green Honda served me well for eleven years, and when it was all said and done, it saved my life. Who knows what kind of relationship my next car and I will have, but I'm hopeful and excited about plenty of adventure.

1 comment:

  1. If I was buying a car right now, I don't know what I'd get, but I think I'd be going for a diesel and making my own bio-diesel. Then again, that's a lot of work, and I don't know when I'd find the time. :)

    I'm happy with my Prius, but you're not likely to find one of them used. When it comes right down to it, just do the best you can: do the research and then go with what you think is right for you. It's all we can do, and it's enough, I think.