Crazy B*tch (Memoirs of a Lemon Lover in Recovery)
Chapter 24—You’re in a Fog? Use Your Fog Lights.
My car had rear fog lights, and the geek in me thought that it was the coolest thing–ever. It was helpful for things other than fog. Rear fog lights look a little like brake lights, and if I flicked them off and on, the people behind me thought I was braking. This little trick proved very comforting in times of winter driving. I was still quite punchy around intersections, and it was comforting to me if the jerk behind me backed off far enough so he felt disinclined to honk and shout profanities.
Winter driving wasn’t as stressful as I originally anticipated. This new car had perfectly aligned tires, and its frame was blissfully straight, so it drove far straighter than anything I ever owned before. Also, it had a wonderful turning radius, which made parking delightfully convenient. Furthermore, I no longer needed to shift gears while driving, and I took to this feature surprisingly well. Bit by bit, day by day, I was pushing through the fog of recovery and rediscovering my relationship with cars and driving.
My dad had waxed my car so thoroughly that all snow, rain and road dirt just seemed to roll off. My car was gold Teflon! Nothing stuck to her. It was awesome! My dad, in pride of his handiwork, shone nearly brighter than the car. It was so mollifying. I just couldn’t believe how easy life was these days—it was almost too good to be true.
There was no almost about it. Things were too good to be true, and I refused to believe it. My car was flawless in her appearance and maintenance. She was hardy, strong, and rarely required any kind of repair. It was a little unnerving. In the absence of break-downs and repairs, I started to feel as if I was forgetting something. I felt as if I went through my days, holding my breath and waiting for the proverbial “other shoe” to drop. My mom, finally, was able to talk some sense into me. She reminded me that I deserved to be happy, healthy, and whole. She also reminded me that it was normal to have a car that did not require steady repairs. She invited me to consider the possibility that I might actually deserve to enjoy such things.
Slowly and cautiously I began to buy into that belief. I began to trust my car’s reliability. Before I knew it, I started to feel a certain joy and excitement over driving my car. I started to trust, and I found faith again. Winter had come and gone, and with spring came the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. One day, I was singing to myself, and my mom called me out. There was no denying it, I was happy again.
I returned to doing all the things I was doing before the dump truck accident, save for all the repairs. Instead, I used some of the time I once spent on repairs for things like washing, waxing, and polishing the golden wonder that was my car. I became fastidious, and only a little OCD over my car. I vacuumed, and dusted the interior. I never let the tank run on anything less than half.
I was lulled into the blissful, and oblivious state where I believed driving was a joyous, and safe experience. I don’t care how healthy people claim that is, thinking that way is very dangerous: especially when it comes to abiding by speed limits. I never realized just how easy it was to go fast in a car that was clean, well aligned, and easy to handle.
My first speeding ticket quite properly could have been contested, but what did I know? I never before owned a car capable of exceeding speed limits. Apparently, it was an unfair speed trap, or at least that is what many after-the-fact, where-the-hell-were-you-before, helpful people told me, after the fact. It was my gate-way ticket, after that one, many more, harder speeding infractions occurred. Well, maybe “many” is an exaggeration. There were three tickets in total. My license, and subsequently, my registration, became a little more costly—and in a weird, geeky way, that made me just a little bit bad-ass.