On owning a car again...

When I turned 18 something magical happened. My parents woke me up, told me to walk to a window overlooking the driveway and check to see what was waiting. I peeked out to see a champagne colored Chevy Blazer with a big white bow on the hood waiting for me down below. Amazing. It was like living in the best car commercial I'd ever seen. I loved that car. Loved it. Driving was one of my favorite activities, the commute between the University of Georgia and my parents' house was a highlight. I'd turn up the music, cruise down 316 and daydream about the movies I'd star in one day. It was a barely driven hand me down from my grandfather and it treated me right for years.

When I graduated college and moved to New York though, my beautiful Blazer became neglected, sitting in my parents' driveway, probably missing me like The Giving Tree missed its Boy. But I was in the big city, nobody has a car, you don't NEED a car and I (in the coolest of pretentious ways) revelled in not having one...well, after a little while. My first year in New York was spent convincing myself that I didn't miss my vehicle. I'd spout out phrases I'd heard seasoned New Yorkers say: "Public transportation is liberating", "Parking and gas are outrageous expenses", "My carbon footprint is hardly noticeable" and after many months, I started to believe myself. Finally I stopped fantasizing about the privacy of my car and realized the beauty of jamming my headphones in, picking up a great book, and riding down to work on the subway. (I really did get SO much reading done while commuting). Living in New York provides a built in workout, you walk everywhere and I learned to replace my beloved drives with my cherished walks with my iPod. So, when I moved to L.A. (a notorious driving city) in November, I was in a bit of a pickle. My parents had long ago sold my beloved Blazer and I certainly didn't have extra funds to buy a car. The kindness of friends took on it's true meaning when my friend Chris lent me Gladys, a lovely, old lady from 1994. A true Griswold classic with wood panelling and all, I drove her with pride for two months until some idiot bimbo turned her disgusting yellow Xterra into Gladys' face and sent her to heaven...sorry Chris...thank God for insurance.

In the aftermath of Gladys, I've found myself in the same situation. Is it possible to be an Angeleno without a car? Yes, actually. If you live in Hollywood at least. I've walked EVERYWHERE and it's really wonderful, BUT L.A. is huge and I realized that soon I'd have to start repeating to myself a familiar phrase from my past, "Public transportation is liberating." Unfortunately though, Los Angeles does not have a Metro NEARLY as complex as New York's, it closes at midnight. I'd have to learn the buses.

But then...
My amazing friend Bridget informed me that she had a car she wanted to get rid of and, in an act of extreme generosity, essentially GAVE me her 1990 Lexus...Yes, this is a true story. As I type this, I'm sitting at a Starbucks waiting to get a Smog Test and new plates for it (pray the LAPD doesn't see it's expired tags before I make it to the DMV...) It's truly amazing, bordering on unbelievable; I guess I'm lucky with cars and so appreciative for it.

The last few days spent with the Lexus have reminded me of what I loved so much about my Blazer. It's such a freedom to get in your car and just DRIVE...I mean, not too far, gas is way too expensive for joy rides, but even sitting in traffic doesn't bother me like I'd expected it to. Don't get me wrong though, I don't think I'll ever find a replacement for walking blocks and blocks in New York, music on, zoned out and enjoying the city, but man, it's really nice to have a place besides my shoulder to put my purse...(my passenger's seat (that allusion was a little vague I think)).


justagirlLaura said…
Dude. Your friends just GIVE YOU CARS?! What the what? I need to work on my friending a bit.

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