I am getting ready to go see a friend a little bit later in Las Vegas. Yes, Las Vegas and it will be a day trip. For anyone just joining or just passing through, I live in Needles, Calif., a border town in the Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is the closest big city to where I live. Los Angeles is about four hours away, Phoenix is about four hours away and then there’s Vegas – a mere hour and a half away. Not too shabby.
I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t take advantage of that fact now and again. It is nice to be able to get to the tourism hotspot of the country by car and still be able to make it back home at a reasonable hour. I can go, visit the casinos (not that I gamble), people watch, get some Chipotle (which I adore), and, of course, get some awesome photos. This may be a shocker to you, but Vegas is very photogenic during the day or night. I can’t imagine why.
Since I’m getting ready for a bit of a trip, I want to take a moment to be thankful for my car. Yes, perhaps that’s a bit cheesy and silly but hear me out. I live in a city where there are many low-income families and individuals. There’s only one grocery store in the city and it’s not cheap, but those without transportation, can’t cross the Colorado River into Arizona and head to Safeway or Wal-Mart. They have to shop locally (that’s not a bad thing per se, it’s just that the grocery store here is expensive and that’s hard on low-income families). I am lucky to have a vehicle that I feel I can trust to take me to do all my basic errands and then to also do my bidding so I can get out to see friends once in a while.
I moved here in 2009 not knowing a soul. I only met my editor once before moving here and I had no idea what to expect. The only “friend” I had when I moved here was my car. She’s been a marvelous friend too, I might add. I have a few more friends since then but not many and some of that was explained in a previous post. I don’t have any family nearby so who do I have to rely on? That’s right… my car.
I’ve always had a bit of a “relationship” with whatever vehicle I drive because that device is what keeps me safe on the road for one. For another, it’s my company when I can’t have people as my company. One of my most favorite drives ever was when I was in college. I desperately needed to get away from everyone, clear my head and my car was there for me. I popped in a mixed CD and just drove. I never knew where I was going and ended up making a huge loop, four hours of driving, crying the whole time. It was the best alone time ever and yet I wasn’t.
Sometimes you don’t need advice or a voice speaking back at you. Sometimes you just need someone to listen to what you’re saying, feeling. That’s what that drive was to me. A friend letting me vent, work out my feelings without judgement, without telling me what I want to hear and yet provided comfort. It was me, the road, the radio and it was perfect.
Beyond being a pal when I’ve needed my car to be that way, she’s always there for me when I need to up and go for errands. Just last night, I needed to get to the store quickly for some tea and cough medicine, because I still can’t kick this darn thing ugh, and she was ready to go. Whenever I get the impulse to up and go to Lake Havasu City so I can get Chipotle, she’s ready. Having a good reliable automobile is so freeing. One of the best things that ever happened to me is having earned my driver’s license and getting a car. Yes there are the usual pitfalls of having to pay for gas, regular maintenance, insurance, etc., but the benefit I think outweighs the cost.
Too many times I hear about folks who are confined because they can’t afford to pay for those things so they don’t have a car or at least one that works. This means they’re limited in where they can go and when. They have to rely on someone else to help them out and that’s fine but it gets tough when there’s schedules to consider.
For me the freedom is also in that my car has allowed me to get out of town on occasion to see my friends. If I didn’t have reliable transportation, I’d be even more isolated than I am. It’s not always easy living here and being on my own, but at least I have a good car that I know will take me places, literally, when I need to try and escape. My car has meant my ability to see friends, it’s been my ability to get to stores, etc., when I needed a change of pace. I do my very best to keep her running as best as she can (granted I’m also limited on funds but I do what I can, when I can). It’s so important that I keep her operational not just for my job, which is required, but for my sanity. I need her to be “well” so I can take care of myself. I take care of her and she takes care of me. It’s a relationship. And it’s one that’s worked the longest for me. Go figure.
So I leave you with Queen’s “I’m in Love With My Car.” It seems fitting. I will say that I’m not IN love with my car but I’m definitely grateful for having reliable transportation that seems to respond to me.