2006-03-24

Dude? Where's Your Car?

Back when Ben Helm picked me up in his Monte Carlo for Junior year prom, complete with tinted windows and a shiny, shiny, so-black-is-it-really-blue-? paint job, I should have known that the future did not look bright for me. For the love of God, it was 1991 and I seriously did not expect that Monte Carlo to be the high point of the cars of the men that I would later date.

But sadly, it was. The correlation of the way I treated my men and the way they treated me, i.e. poorly, can be charted based on the guy's vehicular situation. The worse his car or his driving situation, the worse the relationship.

After Ben, there was Jason Gleason, most certainly not a boyfriend but a defining and crucial man in my formative years.
When we were best friends, we were so tight. We worked the early shift at the YMCA and we car-pooled in that he picked me up every morning in his Fake Jeep.
This might be where my dedication to the acquisition of a Real Jeep began.
Jason was also into wind-surfing, which seemed dippy, even to my naive, Midwestern 19 year-old self. The Fake Jeep was dippy. The matching tans and YMCA tanks and hemp ankle bracelets that we wore were even dippy but at age 19, I was having the same rocky and awkward time most people experience around age 14.
Jason was just what I needed.
We were inseparable, we fed off of each other's energy in perfect balance, we never got in a fight, and we flirted like crazy even though we had less than a ghost of a trace of real attraction for one another.
I actually think that our symbiosis made us that much more attractive to everyone else and we just never did come across a somebody else who was as interesting as we were to each other.
We hooked up once and there was that flat, boring feeling during the whole night, like the air was sucked out of the room a little and like being naked was purposely tamping out a wonderfully warm fire of male-female friendship.
Even after that, we remained staunchly joined at the hip, and almost clinical about the encounter. We openly agreed that it never happened and went back to getting high and watching Speed Racer reruns in his parents basement while we played dee-jay with his dad's enormous record collection.
I left every night spent at his house by looking at the Fake Jeep with the surf board on the top was so dorky and so wrong but so endearing and lovable.
I would pull out of his driveway and see the Fake Jeep and think about how nice it had been to just be allowed to sit in it, earlier in the afternoon, watching someone else try something new and not being told that I had to try it, too.
A couple of years into our friendship, Jason made some choices that were not the best decisions and that resulted in some serious consequences. He weirdly blamed me for his problems, even though I was thousands of miles away, at a different kind of college and in a different state. It was sad that he abruptly hated me but it was also so not understandable that I just kind of accept now that it was something he needed to do. Maybe I knew too much, was too close, too much of an insider to his soul.
Whatever it was that blew out our tire, I wouldn't take it back. I love that kid to this day as the best friend I had back then.

The next significant car and more importantly driver was our all-time favorite, Rakers.
Man I was hard on him.
His car was one that his parents gave to him when they got a new car.
His next car was one that his parents gave to him when they got a new car.
By the time I was around Stevie, I was a self-righteous girl, pretty fresh from one of the ultimate private, liberal arts schools. Hi? I KNEW that people Steveís age were supposed to be successful and buying their own cars, not getting hand-me-downs from their parents. Duh.
I seriously had a big problem with the hand-me-down factor. I think it made me mad that he was so easy about it.
I also think that I felt like I earned my parental-purchased vehicle by enduring the torture of college and actually graduating. In my mind, he had not earned his donated ride. Oh, he was a college graduate, true. But not from PRIVATE school and what had he done SINCE his graduation to earn a car, thatsSONOTfair?
Of course, that was back when I was militant about my car and it was pretty much an altar that could have carried anything holy without so much as a dusting. I was obsessed with keeping it in perfect condition and he didnít take the same care of his car that I did.
There was a dime or a penny or something lodged in the track that allowed the driverís seat to be moved forward and backward. When we took his car to Florida, he had to drive the entire trip because of that coin and that wasnít good for anyone. When we got back, he took the car and got the coin removed.
Finally.
It had been a couple of years with the non-moving driverís seat and if I needed to drive us anywhere, we had to drive my car. Again, I donít know why this frustrated me so much but it did.
If we went out together in his car and he drank too much, I had to sit on the very, very edge of the seat to reach the pedals. I usually just drove, or eventually drove myself to meet him at the bar. We didn't even go together.
Whatevski.
I dunno why that car situation was such a big deal, to be honest, but it was. It was a big deal.
And obviously, since Iím about the age now that he was then?
I would fall to my knees and find salvation in the Lord above if my parents gave me a hand-me-down car right now.
But I've said enough in the past about how we treated each other and at the end of the day, at least Rakers had a car that the State of Illinois allowed him to operate.

The next example was a real Jeep.
I mean Chris.
I donít know if it was is perfectly gorgeous hair, his hot body, or that freaking Jeep but I moved across the country with that dude.
Sort of.
Because of his constant inability to avoid moving violations of varying seriousness, he was legally barred from driving his Jeep.
Default Driving Goes To: Sarah.
Gawd, even thinking about it now makes me kind of hot and makes me want to see about trading in my Honda for the summer.
Say youíre going out to do, basically anything and youíre living in a shit-small town in Central Illinois. Are you going to get in your girlfriendís Saturn Sedan or are you going to just give her the keys and roll in the Jeep?
Itís a no-brainer.
I got to drive my all-time-favorite vehicle all the time.
I swear that on some level, the fact that I defaulted to a Jeep kept me in that entanglement for much longer than I would have ever stayed if he had driven like, a Mazda Protťgť or even a Mustang.
I would hear him in my living room, smell his cigarettes, think to myself, ďFuck, I canít stand that kid.Ē
And I'd look out the window and there in my parking lot was the Jeep and there in my hands were the keys to the Jeep and every goddamn time I would call out, ďHey! Iím going to get some beer and Iím taking the Jeep!Ē
That pretty much sums up the breadth and depth of that relationship. I used him, he used me and neither of us cared or were willing to admit it all the way.
But itís true.
The emotions for the guy were probably not as real as another person would have wanted them to be before skipping out to Arizona at his side.
My emotions for the car were real.
I am still convinced that I got the most out of it what with moving across the country and having all-access to that Jeep for the better part of a year.

Things devolved.
I went from a guy who had a rad vehicle but couldnít ever drive it, and I mean by law, ever, retired cops known on the street as ďSupervisory Probation OfficersĒ stopping by once in awhile to make sure he's not driving, to guys who didnít have vehicles.
My most recent dates didnít have cars.

The Viking ran into a semi and Dog Park Dude rolled his off of a cliff. Dog Park Dude actually was involved in a lot of accidents; cars were perhaps not his forte.
In the short time that I was around either of them, they didnít have cars to drive.

Between those two and their attitudinal mis-matching freak-shows of misguided emotion, I had better be correct when I say that dating dudes without cars has got to be the low point in the graph of the health of my relationships with guys.

I guess my psyche must have just given up for awhile.

I like to think that someday, Iíll meet a guy who just plain does not drive. No story or law-breaking behind it. He doesnít drive. Period. Never has. He would be blank slate of cars and driving.
No record, no excuses, no worries, and nothing for me to pick on.
Another possibility for which I hold out hope, the real dream for me, and call it pedestrian becauseÖ sticks and stones brutha, sticks and stones; I donít give a CRAP after everything I have seen about guys and cars.

Anyway, the REAL dream I have is that I meet a guy who has a normal car that he financed like a normal person (aka, me) and is paying for on a normal schedule, or at least one that he did not invent in his head and pretend that creditors accepted.

You know, or a guy who owns his Jeep Wrangler and is allowed by law to drive it; no, allows me to drive it because he's tired of driving it and wants to drive my Honda for awhile.
Yeah.
That's my dream.

arizonasarah at 11:24 a.m.

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