Dear Wonderful, Faithful, Hardworking, Treasured Elantra,
I am beside myself with tears and anguish that I had to get rid of you. If it was up to me, I never would have. Although, if it were up to me, you also wouldn’t be dropping oil, smoking after less and less driving, and generally starting to give up on life. Yes, I know. You’re about eleven years old and have just under a billion miles under your belts (which I JUST replaced in the winter), but that doesn’t change that I love you deeply.
You, beautiful Elantra of confusing color tone, were the very first car that honestly belonged to me. I worked very hard all summer years ago, slaving away at a thankless job where I was overworked, underpaid, taken advantage of, and generally terrorized to buy you away from your previous owner. I remember the day my mom called and said she found a car. I didn’t know what an Elantra was. She said I’d like it. I said OK. And then…Yes, I did like the car. Right away you were so cute, so comfortable inside, so very mine.
It’s kinda like my dog. My mom did the same thing. Called and asked if I wanted one, she found one that needed a home. I didn’t know what kind of a dog it was. Really, I got very lucky. Same with you, former car of mine. Maybe my mom should stumble upon a new couch next.
You, Elantra, took me back and forth to school, especially on my last commuting year. THAT was a big year. We went through quite a ton together that year. You drove me around to visit my long distance boyfriend in college—never complaining at a moment’s notice when we decided it was time for a visit to keep us from breaking up, to celebrate something wonderful, etc etc. You helped me through almost every ice storm…oh except for the last one where we slid down a hill together into an unlicensed, undocumented citizen. That was something, eh?
You have been the car with me through heartbreak, concerts, road trips, graduation, multiple jobs, accidents, dates, oh…we can go on. Just going through the contents of my car, I was struck immobile with memories. I mean, please, not that the car was messy. Really, I’m very proud of how neat we kept you. How faithfully we changed your oil, how only once in all the years I owned you the gas was low enough for the light to go on (and that was last week).
What am I going to do with all the directions of all the trips I’ve taken left in the center console? What am I going to do with the stack of military base passes left in there too? Throw them away? What? That’s what the center console was for. In fact, there’s still a birthday present for a boy I broke up with years ago left in the glove compartment…and now what?
I mean, yes, we’ve had our issues at the garage. Yes, there were things to fix. But each and every time I said to the mechanic I’ve used for years, “Just level with me.” And every time, he said, this car is a solid car. Ah. Big sigh. Of all the times I thought that would be it with us, of all the times I thought it was just too much to fix…this time it was true.
You were such a faithful car. You were such a beast. If I had my way, when I get a new car that is MINE MINE MINE…maybe I’ll get an updated Elantra? I’m that sold on it.
Until then, I will drive a car I am not fond of…a car with terrible sight lines, a light car that gets blown all over the highway and no one takes me seriously…until my brother is ready to take it away from me.
This morning I had a particular shirt in mind that I wanted to wear (navy blue silk button down with white dots), and realized it is at the dry cleaners. I thought, “Pshaw, this is the kind of thing that happens to adults, not me…wait…” Then I started thinking…uh oh… more than just my constant wearing of cardigans are making me an old lady. Symptoms include:
1) New contacts in my cell phone contacts list are entered by full name. No more nicknames. No more “Lauren S.” or “Tom B.” or person-plus-door-room-number (a very popular practice my Freshman year of college). And thankfully, no more “Guy From Bar X.” Nope: first name, last name, sometimes email. Every once in a while additional, pertinent info. Where has my creativity gone? Am I doomed to never again list someone in my cell phone as “Hot Runningback’?
2) I’m starting to sincerely question the decision most states make—including my very own Commonwealth of Pennsylvania—in giving out driving privileges (it’s a PRIVILEDGE, not a RIGHT!) to sixteen-year-olds. 98% of them make me very nervous.
3) Are people consistently having better looking babies? Because it sure seems that way.
4) I’m starting to do “preventative” things. On my 25th birthday I celebrated in grand fashion by beginning to use eye cream. I have moisturizer with sunscreen now, and I use it every day. If there is any sun at all, I wear sunglasses. I don’t do this because I think I look cool. And I don’t do it for the fashion, though I am admittedly a glutton for accessories. I do it for two reasons—1: apparently beautiful sunshine fades the color of your iris. I’m sorta fond of my blueish eyes. 2: like I said: eyecream. Diligent skincare. If I’m spending all this time and money preventing wrinkles and the look of again, what kind of sense does it make to go squinting into the sun, creating wrinkles. Like I don’t already get enough of that by laughing. One of ‘em gotta go. It’s not gonna be the laughing. Also—heart disease prevention. Realizing that I come from a family with spotty heart health history, I’m doing everything I can. There’s probably more to this story; that’s enough for now.
5) I have become very concerned with things like fuel mileage and tire pressure—I don’t understand them, I’m just concerned over them.
6) When I see kids around during the daytime on Monday through Friday I wonder why the heck they aren’t in school. (I did this a few times over the summer too, forgetting my calendar does not sync with a school girl or boy’s, but it’s more since fall started that I’m sure they should all be inhaling chalk dust.) I’m sure all teenagers are skipping. I’m highly suspicious of young people…err, well, people younger than I am.
7) Whenever someone mentions something about the 24th of any given month, my resounding thought it that’s the day I have to pay my credit cards and student loans.
8) I might be too old for techno. The very family-friendly, workplace-perfect Top 40 (featuring Ryan Seacrest in the afternoons) radio station we play in my office has, for surely unknown reasons, has been playing little blocks of techno around 3:30. I keep yelling, “What IS this?” and trying to crawl under my desk. My high school bf played techno constantly, and it never bothered me. However, he also just recently turned 28, while he is always eternally 17 in my head. So there’s that.
9) I like buying work clothes now. Yikes. At department stores. Double yikes.
10) I’m giving in on things that once felt absolute. I guess there’s wriggle room. This probably stems from two very new ways I’m living my life—1: sometimes the expenditure of energy to fight in not worth being right; pick your battles, don’t argue with fools who don’t matter to you much anyway. 2: life is never going to be the way you had it on paper—sometimes it’s worse, more often it’s better.
There’s this pair of sandals I want. I saw them—on clearance, mind you—when I was at the shoe store buying new shoes for my restaurant gig. Those, the restaurant shoes, are a necessity. They no longer offer any support (and I’m not talking emotionally, though they don’t do that either), and have left me whining in pain on the floor after several busy nights lately. So, this whole thing didn’t start completely frivolously.
The thing is, I went in there with a budget. Based on years of having to buy shoes to wear at a restraurant, I knew I could expect to spend X amount. Yet, the ones I decided had all the necessary requirements were also drastically on sale. And while I suppose I should have just been overjoyed at my finnancial fortune…err, good luck…I wandered about the store instead. See, I, like many people—not just women—love shoes. And when my shoe budget was not exhausted, things did not feel balanced in the Universe. So, I perused.
Really, I probably found a half-dozen pairs I direly wanted to own and wear and gaze at lovingly in my closet. One of these pair was the aforementioned sandals. Now, these would have put me 10 bucks over budget, which probably made me analyze all the more. Me, I’m not frugal, but I do like to get the most bang for my buck. I don’t want to buy just to buy. I want to buy because I am so fond of the item my palms sweat. (Yes, I am a material girl and this is a…whole week with references to Madonna.)
But that’s just me.
Therefore, I looked closer at the sandals.
Truly, they looked solid, well made, sturdy. This is important in a shoe you could potentially be spending a significant portion of time in. This is not always the case for my shoes. I suppose I would refer to them as “walking sandals.” They still had a lot of strappy stuff going on, but they had a reasonable sole and a good back. You’re not going to simply step out of them strolling down Main Street some beautiful summer evening during a large festival (this is me seeing how applicable said shoes are to my life). And, I am planning to go several places in warmer weather that will require a good deal of walking…do I really want to be cooped up in sneakers? See: I know myself so well.
Really, I was almost prepared to just need to dole out the extra $10, and then, a thought struck me…are these…old lady sandals?
Are these what mothers will be donning while waiting in ballet dance studios and on the sidelines of soccer matches? Will a lady somewhere be rocking these on her feet beneath her fanny pack and Mom-jeans at tours of man-made National monuments and/or grand natural wonders? Will these be the hot trend at new PTA meetings in September? (Don’t get it twisted, eventually I want to participate in all these things—well, except the fanny pack and definitely the Mom-jeans—but do not rush me, footwear!)
Basically, is an elderly female relative or yours or mine going to show up at our Memorial Day BBQ in these? I mean, I’m sure she’ll look great—they’re great sandals—but it makes me feel as thought I will not. And probably should not.
I couldn’t decide. I panicked. I thought maybe my blood sugar was too low and my mind was too focused on shoes of function for this kind of reasoning. I put them down.
Then, of course, I bought a pair of black Vans slip-ons that kept my $15 under budget. Naturally with this purchase, I sent a text to my younger brother asking if I am too old for Vans slip-ons.
File all of this under #whitegirlproblems.