[Side note #1: Well, look at that…a 100 Objects piece and a Throwback Thursday. Hallelujah.]
This 100 objects piece isn’t about a thing per se. It’s about an experience between two people that’s shaped our lives.
I love driving, let’s just get that out-of-the-way. I love the control and freedom of driving. I know that makes me very American but yes. I love it. When I first received my license (after failing the first time because I couldn’t parallel park properly), I would drive around relishing the sudden freedom that I had.
And it felt very sudden to me. Being an only child of two introverted parents, I was the focus of all their energies. You can imagine how exhausting it could be.
But I digress.
On the weekends, my friends I would take turns driving the back country roads at relative high speeds while the rest of us stuck our heads out of the windows and stared up at the sky rushing above us.
Yes, I know. It’s a good thing none of us were ever maimed. But no one was ever on the roads with us. Our favorite places to drive were cemeteries. No one really was around and if they were, no one minded or yelled at us. [Side note #2: I had no idea that most cemeteries closed and locked at night. I mean, I get it. It’s to keep kids like us out. But if it’s to keep the “residents” in, then you have another problem. By the way, I prefer the original name of the movie.]
That love of driving followed me to college when I was finally allowed to bring my jeep up for the summer I lived in the city. After classes, dinner, studying, and homework, I picked up my then boyfriend and just drive around the city and the surrounding counties; three or four hours at a time. Eating was first, because you know, we were young but the drive was the main event. Exploring little known roads, feeling like explorers, getting to know other ways of getting around the city (it’s saved me from traffic many times). It was the feeling of complete freedom, with no one (relatively) to answer to.
It was and remains a bit heady.
So, we have a…beltway system here. I hesitate but it’s really not a beltway. Hell, two of the three belts don’t connect to each other and the closest beltway to us doesn’t have signs up anymore. So, yes….”sort of,” is the best way I can describe this system. The blue belt is closest to us and located near a synagogue. I haven’t attached any significance to this, other than it’s the closest to me and I know where it goes…
In college, I was the one with the car so everyone hitched a ride with me. I didn’t mind. There is a very distinct memory where I piled eight people into my car coming back from a riverboat cruise. I had a jeep. It comfortably seats five. Guess where I had the three unlucky souls sit? Oh, yeah. The trunk. Stupid lucky bastards. How in f’ck’s name did we get away with it?
I have a theory but it’s not one I want to think too hard about.
Another distinct memory, which I may or may not have already told y’all about: on a late Friday night (because that’s when most bad decisions are made), a group of us went out to a chain diner. One driver, who was 17 (natch) was following us because he wasn’t from the city. At a stop light, where we stopped like the good citizens we were, came a car followed by a swarm of police cars that swerved around his car and my car, ultimately, taking the curve too fast and crashing. The doors that weren’t pinned, flew open and out jumped four people. The cops, jumped out of their cars, guns drawn, screaming at them. My then boyfriend [Side note #3: I’ve got to give him a better nickname that “then-boyfriend” or fiancée or husband.] said in a calm voice, we need to get the f’ck out of here. I blinked, shaking the cobwebs, and followed his advice.
Anyway, after my husband and I got married and settled into our jobs and lives together, night driving took a backseat (hahaha). New hobbies came up, jobs got in the way, gas prices went sky-high, and life got in the way. Driving was now, just a means to get somewhere. I mean we *did* go on a drive in July but that was a means to calm my husband down through his panic attack. While it was awesome, the underlying reason was not.
I still enjoy driving and one day, I hope to do a cross-country drive. Until then, I’ll have to content myself with my commute and other shorter, necessary drives.