Tuesday, November 13, 2007


When I was in high school, I was invited to join a sorority. (Yes, yes, I know. It’s the South, y’all. A leftover from the debutante balls/coming-out presentations of yesteryear. Fiddle-dee-dee!) Anyway, I’ll never forget the junior who came to pick me up for the first in a series of weekend adventures/parties/dances/sleepovers. L. was a cheerleader, on Student Council, had adorable kinky-curly blonde hair, went out with the cutest soccer player at the private school across town, and drove what instantly became my dream car: a red Jeep Cherokee.

Long story short, my mom wouldn’t let me join that sorority—and I would have, too (but now I’m glad I didn’t b/c I know what a real sorority is about, and it’s not having your name announced by one of your former teachers in front of some antebellum mansion while you stand there smiling insipidly while wearing whatever heavier-than-a-gorilla, hotter-than-Hades sequined dress you could borrow from your “big sis”), partly because of L. and her awesomeness and the awesomeness of her red Jeep Cherokee. Which I fell in love with from the moment she let me sit up front and the other girls in the caravan (who were either juniors or seniors) laughed at my jokes.

So last week, when my friend A. went out of town and asked me to take her to the airport and hang onto her car while she was gone, I was beside myself with glee. Why? She drives it: a boxy, gas-slurping, four-door Jeep Cherokee Sport. And it’s red. It should belong to me. God bless you, A. I’ve never felt taller … or more wee and cute, all at the same time.

And while I was bouncing around town in A.’s Jeep (and I do mean “bounce,” because of all the things my dream car has, superior shock absorption isn’t one of them), I started thinking: if I were a car, I wonder what kind of car I’d be. Would I be this, my holdover love from age 15, a car almost that age itself, looking and feeling like a set of cherry-colored boxes with wheels?

Or would I be my car, one I love with all my heart but was chosen for me? (Thanks Mom & Dad! Buying your old car from you for $1 was the best birthday present ever! I’m grateful almost every day.) It’s a four-door that looks lilac to me but gray to everyone else—except when it looks silver. I used to think it was invisible b/c I could zoom along at 78 mph on I-65 when the speed limit was 65 mph and never get pulled over. I later learned that I wasn’t invisible, just lucky, and that luck like that runs out. My car has seen me through a dozen moves (most of them inter-state), a boy or two, and more drive-thru windows than I care to mention. It has made me very brand loyal, very vocal about the price of gas, and very, very happy. It has kept me safe and taken me to concerts, on camping trips, to weddings, and even to a prom.

I have to say that despite being able to drive my dream car and having it be just as fantastic as I’d hoped it would be, I think that if I were a car, I’d still have to be my car. I adore my light plum ’95 Saturn SL1 with all my heart, and get a little teary at the thought of not having her around forever. She has over 185,000 miles on her, and The Boy and I are slowly starting the discussion about when to … I can’t even say it. You know what I’m talking about.

I am my car! A cute little frugal thing that’s not the most trendy or flashy set of wheels on the block but that has tons of great memories (and, admittedly, a few dings). Reliable and easy to get to know ... with a normal-sized trunk.

1 comment:

glove said...

It looks lilac to me. Lavendar, even.