At the pinnacle of mental anguish and self-hatred a car came into my life, Jane.
When we met I was not giving myself rest, and obsessing over daily habits — living the dream life of an energizer bunny. I’d wake up at 4:30 am, head to the gym on my bike, run 4 miles, possibly take an hour-long yoga class, then get on my bike to go to my toxic (on many levels) job at a coffee shop where I was the baker — I would bake until the afternoon, head home, paint, possibly go back to the gym to walk with my mom and sister, eat dinner, go to bed, and start all over the next day. This rigrious routine allowed me to push away the fact that I was not happy with myself or my life. I was busy on the surface and slowing down would mean having to look at my life. Each activity was only a means to keep me busy before the next, there was no room for reflection, rest, or self-care.
As late fall rolled around in North Dakota, I equipped my bike with hand warmers and bought spiked tires so I could keep this façade going. Then, one morning on my way to work in late November after an ice storm my outfitted bike and I took a very swift skid on some ice, a cord was struck in me: perhaps I should think about getting a car. Confidence was so low at this point I didn’t know how I could afford it, but I searched a few local used car websites that afternoon. I called around, and found a jeep that was very much in my stupidly small, self-imposed price range, (just a hole in the ceiling that’s all) the salesman said I could do a test drive anytime. At that point I increased my budget and found a Honda CRV at another dealership. This salesman also encouraged me to come in and we could test drive it.
I arrived and the car was waiting. I get in and I didn’t know they made vehicles that basic anymore. It felt like a bunker of a car, and the clincher was that it was a stick shift. The salesman took me for a drive on the ice coated streets, convincing me it would warm up soon. He also mentioned that he would happily give me lessons on how to drive stick. The car didn’t feel right, and at this point I knew I needed a car and I knew this wasn’t it; but I also knew I could trust this guy. So, I turned to him and said, ‘I really appreciate you helping me out, but if I am going to spend this much money on something it has to have soul, character’. He replied with ‘I get it, and let’s go back to the office I might have some ideas.’ I didn’t have hope, but I did trust him.
So, we went back to the office, and he brought up a few cars on his computer, nothing biting. Then he said, ‘This just came in’, turns his screen to face me and my jaw dropped. I said, ‘I’ll take it, how much? where is she?’. It was my car; I knew it in my bones. It came in that morning with a broken tie rod, which was being fixed and the owner was graduating so her parents were gifting her a new car instead of fixing this one. He mentioned it was in the garage and I couldn’t drive it due to the damage, but I could go see it. We drove over and I honestly could not contain my excitement. My mom accompanied me and, told me to contain the excitement so he didn’t up the price. I sat down in her (the car) and found BUTT WARMERS! Sold. After viewing the car and before we did paperwork, I used the bathroom when I came out, I was crying and my mom asked how I was doing, I said ‘This feels like the first step in putting my life back together.’ * She nodded.
Jane was the start to me becoming me again, she helped me push myself and live, giving me an independence, I didn’t know I was missing so much of. I made several long trips in her, one of which was to Vermont, heading north into Canada and dropping back down into the states allowing a much more scenic and peaceful journey on highways rather than interstates. I’ll never forget driving through Ontario late October after the first night of snowfall that season, everything covered in a dusting of snow. A peaceful feeling came over me, being grateful for having her safely taking me into a wilderness of my own life rather than the repetitive path I was so determined to live in just a year prior.
I am grateful for her heft, and weight, knowing in her I could release the pressure valve of my anger, screaming to my heart’s content without being heard, leaving me with a sore throat for days.
Jane gave me so much, I don’t want to give her up, but now with my life in a new place I know the time has come. I have never been this attached to an inanimate object, but this car has melded into my heart, gut, and mind. The beast that helped take the beast out of me.
**Ha. Ha. Ha. Two months later I lost the keys to Jane and was convinced I would walk to work at 5am in -30F weather, only to get down the block to realize if my keys to the car were missing then also my keys to work were missing. In my frantic state I was unable to find them just hiding at the bottom of my bag until later that afternoon after one hell of a morning full of interrupting my parents, and coworkers to abate my anxious nature of things not going to my strict daily plan.