This weekend I picked up my first new car in 11 years. I’d owned exactly 4 cars since I was 21 years old, so this was a big deal. Yeah, I’m a grown-up now so I could get the model with the bells and whistles, and heated seats and weird technology, much of which I won’t end up using…
In 2008, I bought a new 2nd gen Prius back when the gas prices were topping $4 a gallon. I learnt the secret Prius handshake and became something of a Prius geek, studying the little tricks to hypermiling and tire pressure and how to drive a vehicle that was something out of a sci-fi film.
But as I was clearing out the glove compartment of the old car this weekend, I found something I didn’t remember I’d placed there: the collar from my favourite cat, Grommit*. It stopped me in my tracks and made me think about the sweet animal and how she came with me from Boston to Wakefield and eventually to the old house in the god-awful suburbs. She lived through my 20’s and into my 30’s and helped me survive the frenzy and the loss in love and life and youth… She spent languid afternoons beneath the myriad shrubberies, tho she didn’t get to witness the planting of my 40th birthday tree which still stands in the yard beside the driveway in that house I also don’t own anymore.
The clean-out brought back wisps of the road trips and the bike rides; the expeditions to the woods and the muddy, tuckered-out pups in the back on the way home, because when I bought the Pri, there were two 80-lb beasts to entertain in the forest or on the beach. It brought back memories of that big, black, hairy, doofy first “best dog ever.”
I’ve toured friends from Europe and China and India in that car…its tires probably memorizing those places that have become part of who I am. The state forests and nature reserves and clam shacks and beaches. The farm that isn’t anymore. The treks out to Kripalu and points north. Lobsters in Ogunquit; holidays in CT, high school reunions in New York and hikes in the White Mountains… each trip with its own collection of photos and souvenirs and stories.
And so this morning, as I’m loading G-dog into the car, I said my invocation to Ganesh, my patron saint of sorts, the Hindu god of new beginnings; of overcoming objections. I adhered his likeness to the back window, a decal I purchased on the streets of Udaipur for just this eventuality. A superstition, maybe, to fling me towards the next set of adventures, at a time where I feel a strong need to start something for fear of causing trouble in a stagnant place.
So, here’s to that new car smell. And to new beginnings. And road trips and adventures and memories not-yet concocted. 🕉🦄
*Of ‘Wallace and…’ fame, and spelled differently because, duh, she’s not a dog.