Tag Archives: car

On the Road Again

torontoairport.jpg This is my trip so far. I have been away from home for some thirty-six hours. My luggage was left in Chicago and, while I was filling out lost baggage customes paperwork, the rental car office closed, leaving me with no baggage and nothing to carry it in. After a mild breakdown and narrowly evading the Canadian fruit police, I rented another car – a tiny, tiny expensive Matchbox car which I will call The Speck – and drove from Toronto to Buffalo in the middle of the night after a very long day. My father was still up and very sick. Having just had his hip resurfaced, he was already on crutches, so illness is a dangerous and inconvenient thing. I slept for a few hours and then he headed to the emergency room. A day of chasing luggage and tracking down doctors and buying back-up T-shirts and girlie underwear at the Gap with my seventeen-year-old stepbrother hovering at my elbow followed. He didn’t even blush, staunch boy. The hospital addmitted my father in the evening and my bag did arrive in Toronto as planned. Of course, instead of bringing it to me as promised, they put it on the next flight back to Chicago to be re-routed to Buffalo. ETA: 11:59PM. Excellent news on all fronts.


Yesterday while I was driving home, there was a promotion on NPR for an upcoming feature on mother-newborn bonding and, one thing leading to another, I got to thinking about why I don’t love my car.

I parked. The automatic shoulder seatbelt which gets in the way of all my intra-car activities annoyed me. As I occasionally do, I wondered why I don’t feel the same way about my second car as I did about my firstborn. Finally, I understood. It’s because this car was stolen less twenty four hours after it came home with me. The mythical mother-baby bond was broken almost as soon as it formed. All I got was the usual post-birth weeks of sleepless nights without the benefit of having an actual baby.

I began to distance myself, for the sake of the other children, the other cars I still had to drive and feed while I waited to hear what had happened. I am not a hard woman: of course, I wondered where it was, if it was safe. But I had to protect myself from those early fears so that I could stay whole.

When I got the car back, it was too late. I had come to distrust its attachment to me and it had clearly developed other interests. We had grown apart. Our birth connection disrupted, I fear we will never be the same.

Small Town

The car is listed as “compact” on the rental agreement but could only meet such a description if all the other cars were especially large tanks. I have to assume that they are using this new model as a gateway drug to hook renters on more spacious (read: expensive) models in the future. Its size takes away some of the force of my blinding speed as I careen through the curves of the backroad that until a few years ago didn’t even have center lines marked. The sides of the road are still undefined, up for grabs, fading off into light grass in the summer, now into black ice and then underbrush which obscures the treacherous ditches that lie at the edge of the forest proper.

It occurs to me that I am driving 25 mph above the posted 35 mph speedlimit for no good reason. I drive 60 on this road because my parents always drove 60, sometimes more, on this road and, apparently, I will not be outdone. I drive 60 because there is something about this place, this region, this town, this forest, this road, that makes me panic and want to leave it quickly, pass through it rapidly, leave no pause for it to re-introduce itself, for it to get a toehold in a conversation. If I move quickly enough, at most, I will only have to yell a fading, “Hello to you too!” over my shoulder should it greet me, attempt to waylay me with lazy, dangerous conversation.