I hate driving. So I have no specific memories or moments with my car that can explain my fondness for it.
Its name is Mort. The latin root of which is death. It conveys my view of driving quite accurately.
My car likes being near other cars. It likes warm weather. It hates stubbing its nose on things. It hates train tracks. It gets lonely, and pouts when I don’t drive it for a while. Like me, it loves roadtrips. We have been on several. Mort has been from coast to coast at least 3 times.
Mort has many bumper stickers. If you want a bumper sticker to stay on you wash the car beforehand. Most of the time I don’t. When old ones peel off, I put new ones on. I love seeing people in my rear view mirror who are clearly looking at my bumper stickers. My favorites say where I have been.
I keep Mort clean. Every spring I vacuum, air out the mats. Clean out the random detritus that has accumulated.
I keep a first aid kit and bottle of water under one seat. Jumper cables under the other. I got a folding shovel for Christmas this year that I will keep in my car to shovel snow. I have two ice scrapers in my trunk so my passengers can help me scrape. One is missing a chunk, like a lost tooth. I have pens, change, toothpicks, and chapstick in the center console. My sunglasses typically occupy the passenger seat. I have a phone holder that rattles without my phone in it. I have airfresheners. But they are mostly for show.
My traffic pinwheel I keep in the passenger car door. Its to prevent road rage. When I am stuck in traffic, I take the pinwheel out. If there is wind outside, I lower my window and put the pinwheel out the window. Otherwise, I put it in front of the air vents.
I have a pale peach colored crystal hanging from a string around my rear view mirror. The sort you see at new age shops. I found it in a parking lot. It looked lonely and purposeless. So I hung it in my car to do…whatever hoodoo magic its supposed to do. I won’t pretend to understand that brand of spirituality, but I’ll still respect it.
I have a hand-made ribbon rose, with a wire twisted around the passenger side air-vent that keeps it attached. I got it from a beautiful old Cambodian woman who owned a breakfast restaurant called the Country Kitchen. We went there often. She recognized me, and knew my name. I liked her. She gave me a rose she made that I keep in my car.
My mileage is almost at 140,000. I want Mort to make it to the moon.
I’ve had my car for 12 years. It has eccentricities.
The AC button is stuck. I don’t mind because I always leave the AC on. I used to turn it off, but don’t bother anymore. It comes on automatically when you turn the dial to the windshield defrost. And it still gets hot anyway. So AC must not necessarily mean cold.
There are three cracks in the windshield that go from one side to another. Unsafe so I am told. One crack has been there as long as I can remember. The third happened last year.
The tire light cries wolf. The sensors in the tires ran out of batteries. Or something. Sometimes while I drive I worry that the tires have deflated and I haven’t noticed. I check. And usually they aren’t. I’m always glad I checked though.
My favorite thing about my car is the speakers. My car speakers are one of my favorite things in the world. I have never been in a car with speakers I like as much as mine. I love listening to my music in my car. Loud. Very loud. I love to imagine the people in other cars nearby, or pedestrians, hearing my car boom and vibrate to my music. Yeah. I’m one of those people. Sorry.
I sing in my car. When no one else is in it. Its the only place I truly sing. Someday I imagine I will sing for people the way I do in my car. I’ve been told I am good at karaoke. If only they knew what I sang like in my car. Maybe its worse. I’d like to think not.
I meditate while I commute. I think. Collect, organize, categorize my thoughts. I’m alone. With nothing to do with myself. No distractions or excuses. I’ve driven that road a thousand times. More, possibly.
I listen to audio books and podcasts. No other activity in my life accommodates listening like driving.
I eat notable quantities of sunflower seeds while I drive. I have a cupholder dedicated to my ‘shell cup’.
I have a lovely commute. There are fields, foothills, the flatirons, and cows. There is a farmer who lives across the street I drive on from his cows. Every so often I see him driving through his field, throwing hay from the back. The cows chase the truck. Its very cute.
Did I mention the view? I have seen people taking wedding pictures at a pull off I drive by every day. It is at the top of a hill from which you can see the flatirons. Absolutely beautiful. Very easy to take for granted. I do my best not to.
The route I take to work is not the shortest. But it is the most scenic. My dad used to drive me that way 15 years ago. We had all sorts of landmarks. It is far more developed now. I dread the day my hills and cows are replaced by houses.