Car Haven Car Heaven

I’m most comfortable in my car. Correction, I’m most honest in car. Or maybe I’m most human. (Ah, they’re all the same…).

It is my belief that the best place to feel all your emotions is inside your car. Particularly your car with no one else present. Not other people’s cars. Other people’s cars are their havens, not yours. You’ve got your own car (maybe you don’t, so, well, I don’t know).

Let me explain. There is no other place in this world where no one can disturb you. I promise. Or maybe it’s that you can’t disturb anyone else? Okay it’s both.

Let’s lay down the basics. I am speaking mainly of driving on freeways. Windows either up or down, depending on your mood, not the weather (entirely). If I could pick the best it would be the late evening, on the freeway, windows down, but heat on half-blast inside the car. It’s a wonderful combination. Back to the type of roads. Freeways are certainly ideal for two reasons. Fast. Fast is fun. The second reason works off the first. When driving fast the people and places around you are merely partaking in your life, not you in theirs. I will never care if that tree, sign, or person sees me singing my heart out. They’re only a small part in my grand play. After freeways, you’ve got your highways and main roads. Speed is still decent, however, you have the occasional stop light where others might look at you and judge. Which leads to the whole reason cars are the only place I can truly feel comfortable:

All conventions, societal rules, whatever you want to call them, all of them do not apply in the car (when it is moving). Okay yes, the rules of the road apply, but that is it. You can do whatever you want. You can be disgusting, you can be loud, you can be rude. No one is going to say a thing! You can’t do this in your apartment. You have neighbors. You can’t do this on the street. You might get arrested. You certainly can’t do it at work. Neither can you do it at a restaurant, or a gym, or your parents’ house. No one will allow it. Someone will stop you.

But not in your car. 

For starters, and this is and will always be the most important aspect of the car, the music. Not only can you decide what you want to listen to, you can decide at what volume. Loud. Always loud. This option isn’t allowed anywhere else. There’s always someone to disturb. And I can’t listen to anything quiet. I must be enveloped. I am in the song because the car is now the song, and it’s transporting me through time. It’s making me feel everything. So you picked your music, yes. And guess what? You can sing as loud as you want. I told you, no one is going to say a thing! It doesn’t matter how terrible your voice is. You aren’t disturbing anyone. And you don’t have to think about how potentially weird or silly you look singing along (I can’t handle concerts sober), no one is watching you. I have had some of the most emotional sing-a-longs you can imagine in the car. Screaming and crying and laughing and acting. I act all of it out. I perform all of Gypsy, Singin’ in the Rain, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, and Mamma Mia! at least once a week, if not more. And I’m telling you, I would have been a close second to Ethel Merman. Everything would totally come up roses for me, if the roses were coming up in my Honda Element.

Have I ever been this honest with anyone? No. I have not. No one has ever seen me perform Gypsy, and no one ever will.

Moving on.

You can cry in your car. You’re driving and you’re crying. You’re crying and you’re driving. Yes it can hinder you ability to drive, but who is going to tell you to stop crying? I hate when people interrupt crying. It is so rude. Can’t you see I’m busy crying? If I don’t get the full cry out of me, it’s just going to come back later. I will always prefer crying in my car. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done it this year. It always seems I’m running from somewhere, and I need to cry, and I panic, where do I go? I don’t want to see anyone! And then my car presents itself like a guardian angel. You can cry in here, Hilary. Oh thank god. The second I close the door it’s like I’ve entered the panic room, or a safe haven (same thing, yes?). Additionally, of course, you can cry to music. But you already know that. You must know. If a song hasn’t caused you to realize an emotion, you’re listening to the wrong music. Once I was driving to see an old boyfriend of mine. I knew I had been feeling somewhat uncomfortable about him, but I didn’t truly understand my emotions until I was in my car, driving to him, and listening to The Killers “For Reasons Unknown.” We had to break up. Because my heart, it didn’t beat the way it used to. And my eyes, they didn’t see him no more. (I could go on, but I’ll stop).

What else?

Well, there’s that great Mom saying, “Calories don’t count in the car.” I’ll stand by it for my whole life. Eat it all! You’re in your car! It’s your rules, not theirs. Get the milkshake, get the fries, and the burger. You’ve got all this driving to do!

More.

This might seem to break the privacy rule of the car, but it seems I’ve told my darkest secrets over the phone in the car. And I call everyone in the car. Honestly, everyone. If one person doesn’t answer, I’m on to the next in a second. I’m sorry, you didn’t answer so I’ve moved on. I love to call people in the car. Yes, it definitely has to do with how loud I talk. But remember, I’m not disturbing anyone. And I’m pretty sure my landlord can hear everything I say on the phone in my apartment. (Again, loud talker). The phone does eliminate the music, but it does not eliminate the crying. You can cry on the phone, yes you definitely can. If you’re concerned about how often I cry, just stop it. It is often, but it is not your problem. I love it.

Moving on.

And you don’t want to talk about this. I know you don’t. But you can be so disgusting in your car. What if you sneezed and now there is snot all over the steering wheel? No one is there to tell you it is gross. If a tree falls and no one is around, does it make a sound? So it’s not gross. You’re only human. I’ve puked in my car (into a cup). Yep. It’s true. If someone had been there, it might have been traumatizing, embarrassed for years, but my car is safe and it’s just me so, whatever. That happened. Moving on. I think I have come close to peeing in my car, but it hasn’t happened (yet, I’m terrible at holding my bladder, you’d think I might’ve birthed 8 children).

My Mother always likes to remind me that before I turned 16 I told her, “I’m getting my license, and I’m going over that bridge, and I’m never coming back.”

I am so terribly dramatic, but that has already been made clear (crying). And I did nothing of the sort. When I got my license, I drove to the mall, not over the bridge. Why? Because it was 45 minutes, down the same road, you could go fast, and I could sing, and cry, and talk if I wanted to. It was everything I ever wanted.

I fear the day I’m too old to drive. I don’t know how I will ever cope.

Society Makes Me Feel Weird: My Mornings as Told by Coffee

There are four ways my day can start out. If you see me in the morning, as most people at work do, you can know exactly how I’m doing based on my coffee. Not my coffee consumption or what type of coffee, nothing of that sort. It’s the thing that carries the coffee, whatever you want to call it.  

1. No Coffee (not really)

And by no coffee I mean no coffee at work. This day has not existed in about a month, maybe more. This is of course, my most impressive state. Why? Because it means I actually woke up, got out of bed, made coffee, and had time to get back in bed and drink it. It’s such a lovely thing to do, but it only happens when I’m adjusting to a new schedule. It used to be when I started a new round of classes at college, but now it’s when I have a new job. I’m so concerned about being ready on time and making myself presentable that I actually wake up in the morning and I have time to do things, like drink coffee and watch Adventure Time, like an adult.  

2. Coffee in my own to-go cup (do the money-saver dance)

Oh how economic of me. I did once own a pink tumbler, but I appear to have lost it in the move (as you do with most things, or did a roommate steal it? I’ll never know). The coffee tumbler is a very empowering purchase. It’s like you’re yelling to the world, “I drink coffee! But I can do it myself! And I save money! Therefore, I am better than you.” But now the pink tumbler is gone. Fear not! I recently discovered at some Starbucks you can purchase a $1 reusable cup. Don’t be confused, it is not a tumbler. This cup cannot tumble at all. If it were to tumble, you would say goodbye to your coffee and whatever items might be in the vicinity and our now covered in coffee. Still, this cup is wonderful. It has my name permanently written in sharpie on it, and it’s spelled right! Because I spelled it! I told you, wonderful. And even more, if you do choose to take this cup into Starbucks and not use it with your own coffee at home (I drink Peet’s out of it, which must be sacrilegious), you get 10 cents off! This cup pays for itself in 10 cups of coffee! My goodness. Talk about wonderful. But back to the point. I bought the reusable cup and I pour my morning coffee in it and take it to work. People see me and first think how impressive I am that I’m not only on time to work, but even had time to go to Starbucks (I didn’t, it’s Peet’s) and if they do figure out that it’s a reusable cup, they view me as both economical and “green.” I win on both accounts! They don’t know that I  haven’t showered, woke up under 30 minutes ago, have my hair braided because it’s greasy, and found this sweater under my comforter, because they don’t need to know. I work there, Jesus, they don’t need to know everything. 

3. Buy coffee (look great) 

Everyone looks great with a cup of coffee in their hands. I’m telling you, it’s beautiful. It screams, “I do things and I’m important.” I’m jealous of everyone who walks by with a to-go cup of coffee. I don’t need coffee, but I want coffee, always. Similar to the reusable to-go cup of coffee, the real to-go cup of coffee, that you just bought on your way to work, masks any and all problems you might have faced that morning, because now you’re holding coffee and you’re important. Did you eat breakfast? Certainly not. You didn’t even have time to make coffee! Your place is a mess! You can’t even find your coffee cup in the dirty dishes. And even more, this cup of coffee lets everyone know, you can afford it! “Oh my god is that from Groundworks?” Yes. Yes it is. And it’s amazing. Everyone is jealous of you. Can’t you feel it? You’re changing everyone’s minds about their day! They’re going to get coffee too! And then they’re going to do things! My god you’ve practically started a revolution. But you’re not a part of the revolution unfortunately, because you’re pretty sure you didn’t lock your door, might have left the curling iron on, didn’t put the britta away, and you just got a text from the bank reminding you that you only have $26.78 left in your bank account. What the hell are you doing buying coffee. 

4. Coffee in a mug (whatever)

You don’t want to believe me but I’ve done it, twice. First of all, it means you are way too comfortable with the people at work. More comfortable than they want you to be. Because you’re late. You’re literally an hour late for work and you’re holding a cup of coffee in a mug from home that you drove with for an hour and now you keep reheating it in the microwave. What the hell happened to you last night? On both of these mornings, I did not care about anyone, anything, any-whatever-you-can-think-of. I look in the mirror and say, “Well…okay.” Then I pull on leggings and I giant sweater, I pour coffee into my mug, add creamer, and walk right out the door. And then I spill it. I spill it all the way down the steps. I spill it on the sidewalk. It’s on my hands. It’s on my jeans. It’s about to be in my car, but I don’t care. I do not give one fuck. I don’t even apologize when I’m late to work. Aren’t they used to it? And you know what? Why can’t I bring my mug from home? It’s just as economical as the tumbler! Even more! (Maybe?). Why is everyone making me feel weird about this. They’re not saying anything, but I can feel their thoughts. I know the mailman saw me walking to my car carrying a coffee mug. I know he did. And I know that guy who walks his two great danes looked at me weird. I just know it. Stop it. Stop it. I’m serious. Stop it. Just let me work so I can go home and drink coffee tomorrow.