Columnist: “Spending days hanging out in a parked car”
By: Jamie Miles: Columnist
Parked cars and jump ropes. Lifelines really.
Often I pull into my driveway and sit. Sometimes the radio plays, sometimes not. I leaf through a magazine. Sometimes I eat a bowl of cereal. Watching for birds at the feeder or looking at the peeling paint on the garage, hours pass.
It just started happening. Drop kids at school. Come home, turn car off and vegetate. My sanctuary. A SUV terrarium keeping sanity and moisture in (good for aging skin); problems outside.
Then school schedules a weeklong break and my refuge turns interstate mobile; except now, children drape the seats. Bathroom stops. Loud music, movies. Car seat turf wars.
Then the one stop too many.
I should have listened to that little voice. Don’t stop now Jamie. You are 55 miles from destination. Battle worn, sleepy and still sore from morning’s boot camp, I pulled over.
We bought snacks, pottied, settled back into car and WHAM. Wham! Wham!
Try as I might; inexplicably, the driver’s door would not shut. Five minutes of ineffective slamming passed. I looked to the door. I looked to my children; I looked at 55 miles.
Funny. Obtaining highway speed, an unlatched car door strains to open. Wrenches away at you, actually. The upside was absolute silence fell over the car. And I always envisioned driving a doors-free Wrangler.
Then my brilliant son said, “Mom, a jump rope.”
Flying along, my hand about the handle the other clenching the wheel, he hands me a beautiful $1 impulse purchase bought the day before to pacify a whining child. Holding the rope lassoed to the door, my teenager rather water-skied for the next 50 miles.
Even the clamor in the car approached its usual din when young ones realized mommy was not going to tumble out of car into a lifeless clump on the turnpike.
Life is never dull. The unexpected abounds. Money disappears, job security disappears, and then you hear killer whales have appeared in the Gulf of Mexico.
These days you deal. You look at unlatchable doors; shrug your shoulders and roll. Part of us craves asylum, but human spirits wither in hermetically-sealed environs. Life in sanctuary works for an endangered Rusty Blackbird, but for you and me, thrill and passion slowly drain away.
Who knows why sanctums spin loco without warning? Maybe it’s just the wrong perspective. One appeared impenetrable; one frightening. I guess spending your days hanging out in a parked car is truly terrifying. Abundant living comes with trust – white-knuckled or not, doors wide-open and asphalt rushing under your feet at 80 miles per hour.
Sometimes all you can do is trust a $1 piece of twine. Or recognize the miracle that it patiently lay waiting in your car in the first place.
Published in the April 2, 2009 Edition