I came down to Peoria this past Friday with my mom – see, she just bought a new car, and in an incredible act of generosity, is giving me her old car. So, we had to go to the DMV, do one of the title transfer things, order license plates, you know, car stuff.
And I realized that for the last year, I have been without a car. When I was sixteen, my father passed down his Merkur XR4Ti, which I promptly nearly totaled on June 11th. My birthday was on June 10th. I had my license exactly one day and destroyed my car.
It was fixed within a month, and then later that year my grandfather died. He left our family a huge Cadillac, which my parents did not want to drive. It was huge. You could easily fit four in the backseat, with room to spare.
So, every morning, I had a decision before I left for school. Drive the smallest car ever made, or the biggest.
In my freshman year of college, my father informed me that both cars has “died.” Since I wasn’t allowed to bring a car to school as per the university’s rules, I didn’t really notice how bad this sucked until I came home for summer break. Thankfully, my dad handed down a car for my sister and I to share that summer.
I’m 35 now, and one of the stipulations of my recent divorce was that my wife received the car to drive out to California, where she now lives. Since I live in Chicago, and near public transportation, plus I bike everywhere, this was not a huge deal. I thought.
Actually, it really wasn’t. The only thing that sort of sucked was trying to figure out how to get to gigs (our band plays all over the city), and how to buy groceries.
The grocery thing was kind of a problem. What I have done for the past year is go every few days and just pick up small things. The reason for this is that I’m either on my bike or taking the subway, and there is limited space.
Because I take my dog everywhere I go, including work, therapy, haircuts, doctor appointments, group meetings, I have developed a skill of being able to walk anywhere with my dog. To be fair, she is perfectly silent and never makes a peep in her little bag I carry around. Most people never even notice her.
Only twice out of the hundred or so times I have taken her into a grocery store has she been spotted by a manager. The first time I was approached and was told, “You can’t bring a dog in here!” To which I replied, “Wow – you know what? You’re right! Thanks!” Then, since a good offense is often the best defense, I just kept shopping. He shook his head and walked away.
Another time right when I walked into a different grocery, a manager came trotting over and before I even got to the pork rind aisle, he told me, “You have to get out – now!” I tried reasoning that I only needed a frozen pizza but he booted me. Probably an insurance thing.
But, now, as a car owner again, I am thrilled to be able to leave my dog at home and not constantly look over my shoulder at the McDonald’s staff who wonders why before I ordered I headed to the corner of the store and dropped off a strange bag.
And, whenever I start dating again, I’m not looking forward to the woman asking where I got my car. Because my answer would be, “I really don’t know. It was my mommy’s and she gave it to me!”
Because that is the truth. Ha.
(the title is because I am sitting here in my underwear in the kitchen – just in case you didn’t make that assumption)