Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Let yourself go . . . "

For the two weeks since I bought my new car, I've been feeling guilty for being a hypocritical fraud. If I like walking so much, it shouldn't really matter what car I buy, right? And, if I really don't want to buy a car at all, I should just get a cheap one. Most important, if I really care about the environment, I should buy a hybrid--or at least something fuel efficient.

All true. I should be an environmentally-minded consumer. I should just get something super cheap. The creature comforts shouldn't influence what I buy. Here's the thing: I'm not; I didn't; they did.

Screw ethics. I wanted a convertible. I wanted something on wheels that would not break that would get me to work with my head in the air. Those were my requirements. Ladies and gentlemen, the 33 year old single American professional female demographic speaks out to the automotive industry. You heard it here.

I found a car. I planned to buy it. People asked questions.

"What kind of engine does it have?"
"No idea."
"Did it get good reviews?"
"Is it pretty?"
"It's okay."
"What's the gas mileage?"
"The top comes down."

I bought a new 2006 PT Cruiser, and there really were some good, practical reasons. I got a decent deal, good enough that I may feel a bit guilty next time Chrysler has layoffs. I do kind of like it. It has a great warranty, something I am particularly attuned to right now.

She's growing on me. Now that I've named her Daphne F., we're official.

She's pretty big, but big can be okay. She's an automatic, which is weird, but it is kind of fun to feel like I am constantly in a video game. Driving is so easy. She laughs at potholes and scoffs at speed bumps! She's fast! She's shiny! She tells me the names of the songs playing on Hot 99.5! She has a little glowy analog clock!

Still, the guilt. I have to turn away from images of Al Gore and whisper, "I'll leave Barack for you if you run. I'll vote for you. I'll walk for you. Forgive me, Al. Forgive me."

Daphne F., I am starting to reluctantly love your brassy, bossy, odd, slightly awkward, zooming self, but must you have a gauge to inform me precisely how much gas you are chugging down with your turbo?

Whenever I drive her, I feel like I’m having a moral crisis. Why do I have to be so spoiled? How in the world can I justify driving a car with a license plate reading TCHPAX if I’m violating Mother Earth with every mile?

This morning, Daphne F. and I drove to work for the first time. Last time I tried to go to work, Dieter passed away, so I felt a tad apprehensive. Besides, no matter how much I love my job, going back to work after a 3 month vacation is somewhat painful.

Already, on the very first day, it was one of Those mornings. Everything, everything I own that is of any material value is broken lately. (Almost everything. The laptop still functions. Pray for us.) Worse still, even after I dump time, money, and sanity into fixing the things, they break again.

I had Dieter fixed, and then he died two weeks later.

My ipod has been driving me bonkers for 3 years. After endless aggravation, lots of cash, and a new hard drive, when the unhappy face appeared on the screen last week, I threw it across the room. I have finally given up and bought a new one and a warranty that lasts from now through my forgiven purgatory.

The router ceased working a few weeks back; I spent days getting it functional. Then, this morning, there was no wireless connection available. That means, of course, that I can’t register the new ipod. The connection died as I was online trying to change the information from Dieter to Daphne F. on my Smartag account.

I stormed off to work, telling my roommate that given my current luck, I was probably going to get into a car accident on the way to work.

I climbed into Daphne F., and I put her top down. We drove away. My hair did not wave in the wind because there is far too much product in it for that to be possible, but it did feel nice on my face. Then, I sped past a Jag and laughed. I popped in the Beastie Boys “License to Ill” and screamed out the lyrics.

I have remembered exactly why I needed a convertible so badly. Driving through the warm air serenaded by the Beastie Boys can fix quite a lot of things that incompetent repair people cannot. Broken router? Defective ipod? Car malfunction? The pain of returning to work? Irrelevant. Forgotten. Momentarily cured.

Principles? I’ve traded them in along with Dieter. I loved him as much as my ideals, but sometimes it’s time to let go. Principles? Please. Let’s be honest with ourselves. I gave those up as soon as I started feeling healed when I grooved to this misogynistic crap:

"Girls - to do the dishes
Girls - to clean up my room
Girls - to do the laundry
Girls - and in the bathroom
Girls, that's all I really want is girls
Two at a time I want girls
With new wave hairdos I want girls
I ought to whip out my girls, girls, girls, girls, girls!"

Environmentalism? Feminism? Come now. Compromises.

As I finished writing this, my cellphone spontaneously turned off. No joke.

I think I need to go for a walk to center myself while listening to some sexist tunes. Actually, I should go for a drive instead since I can’t listen to the Beastie Boys while I walk until the ipod is functional. And the ipod won’t be functional until the wireless is fixed. And and and.

Here's the moral. Sometimes you have to hang up the hiking boots and the principles and put the top down. And that's okay.

"Let it flow - let yourself go
Slow and low - that is the tempo"

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