You gave me wings. To go places. To be free. Free of asking around for help or depending on others.
A few days ago, sister woke up a sobbing me in the wee hours of dawn. I don’t really have bad dreams often, but for the really bad ones, I wake up in tears. I saw I had parked my car in Chennai (of all places, no idea why Chennai) and since it was a new city for me, I got lost. I kept looking for my car everywhere. Even the friends I was visiting in Chennai looked everywhere. But for some weird reason, I did not remember where I parked my car. I kept looking for hours, running around every corner and every street, but I did not find my car. A few minutes more and I would have perhaps found out my car. But I started to sob in my sleep and sister woke me up.
Later it all sounded a silly dream. I called up my friend to ensure my car was fine. And suddenly, I longed to drive my car. I’ve always thought being crazy about one’s car was a guy thing. Now I know I was wrong.
For as long as I’ve been in Kolkata, I have had a strange fear. I’ve feared by the time I get back to Seattle, I would have forgotten driving my car. I’ve asked multiple people if this really happens. The other night I had another dream (this time a non-lachrymose one) where I was driving and on seeing the lights go red at night, I just didn’t know how much to brake so that my car would stop just in time and just at the right place. Friends tell me I’ll be fine and driving in no time, but I have to take the steering in my hands to believe I haven’t forgotten driving altogether.
I bought my car when I didn’t even know how to drive it. My friends drove it for weeks, even months, before I slowly started driving it on my own. But once I started, there was no turning back. I fondly remember so many places I’ve been to and so many fun trips I’ve had. I no longer needed to ask someone to help me with grocery or think twice before stocking up things bought in bulk from Costco. I no longer needed to catch the last bus on time every time I went for a party. I no longer asked others to pick up my guests from the airport. It’s a different story that every time I have been to the airport, I have spent some extra 20 minutes taking the wrong exit and going round and round in circles. Once or twice is understandable, but this has happened every time.
Right now I am transitioning from job life back to student life. This means earning less, leading to less affordability of things. I am asked if I would sell off my car and start taking the bus to reduce expenses. Bus, I’d gladly take any day, but just the thought of saying good bye to my car makes me sad. I would need to compromise on my other luxuries, but would try to hold on to my car if I can. I fondly remember the numerous fun trip we have made together, to every nook and corner in Seattle, to the Coldplay concert at the Gorge, to Olympic National Park and Neah Bay (the north-westernmost tip of continental US of A), North Cascades National Park, Mt. Rainier, Leavenworth (a Bavarian village) on Christmas, Mount St. Helens (an active volcano in Washington), Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Deception Pass, and so many more places. I’ve never driven my car out of Washington, and on that same thought, I’m considering a cross-country drive across the US of A sometime. It’s going to be a good 3000 or more miles of driving depending on the route. I haven’t planned the logistics or the dates yet, things are very much in a ruminative state, but I’d definitely love to consider a cross-country road trip, visiting all the places I’ve always wanted to. Let’s see.
So ending on an affectionate note, I wish my sunshine car a very happy first birthday. I am sad I am not with my car on her birthday. I go back to my Science textbooks from Class 1 where I was taught how to distinguish between living and non-living things. I know my car, however nice she has been, is still a non-living thing. However, I am as attached to her as I’d be to a dear friend, a pet, or family. With that thought, I hope I can spend many more years driving my sunshine car, and that together, we go a lot many places.