Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Automobile Freedom

I haven’t shared a car since I was 15 and first got my license.  Even that wasn’t sharing.  My mom and dad rode to work together every morning and the second car was mine to drive my brothers and I to school and work.

When JD and I closed on the Palm Springs pad, we drove a two-person convoy from Atlanta to Palm Springs, he in his Chevy HHR carrying anything valuable or that required an inside ride and I in my Ford Ranger pickup with everything else stacked up and tied down in the back.  

 JD rode alone but I had the companionship of my plastic mascot, Road Monkey.

After the close and unload (in 112 degree heat), JD hit the road back to Atlanta, in the HHR, so he could get ready for an extended trip to Barcelona.  I stayed behind to continue the unpacking and to find some essentials for the place, like something to sleep in and sit on.

When it came time for me to return to Atlanta, I was saddened not only to leave our new desert paradise after just two weeks, but also because I was leaving my beloved Ford Ranger behind.  We bought it in Houston when we moved from NYC because any self-respecting man in Texas has a truck…even the gay ones.  I lovingly named her Candy.  

She’s the only car I’ve ever paid off and at eleven years she’s by far the longest I’ve ever owned a vehicle.  In those eleven years we rotated JD through a convertible Mustang, and Audi A4 and after the recession hit the very practical Chevy HHR.  I drove Candy straight through.

Now JD and I are doing a waltz of car ownership so that if I take the car to work he knows he’s homebound for the day (except for whatever entertainment he can find within walking distance).  If he drops me off at work, I lose the option of stepping out for lunch or the gym and he has to make sure he schedules his day so he can pick me up again.

I love driving Candy when I’m back in the desert and realize, now, that I had taken her for granted the past eleven years.  The HHR is OK, but it’s not the comfortable ride that she is with her bucket seats that keep you sitting upright instead of down on the ground with your legs straight out.  She looks good in Palm Springs, all bright red against the white desert sand, but I still miss her.

Annual incentives come in March.  Assuming it’s not a miserable year for bonuses, I’ll be getting a replacement for Candy.  No car can truly replace her, but a man has needs and one of mine is automobile freedom.  

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