tracy_d74 (tracy_d74) wrote,

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I Promised . . .

I’m a woman of my word. I promised my friend J.P. I would type up the article that sealed our fates. I can't do the story justice on my post, but I'll give my best effort. Though I grumble and roll my eyes, I love it when J.P. tells our story. She has the best voice and facial expressions, and she’s all energy. It’s great. Truly. I hope all of you have a friend who can tell a story with such energy. I also hope you have a friend who believes in your writing . . . even if she risks looking delusional. J


It was March 9, 1993 when the story below hit the newsstands at the University of Texas at Arlington. I was one of three freshmen journalism majors allowed on the Shorthorn staff. I decided the first semester I wanted to write editorials. A freshmen writing editorials was like finding a unicorn. Yet, I convinced the editorial staff it was a good idea. Some of my editorials were “just prattling” and some were “hard hitting.” You’ll know which camp the one below belongs to by the first line.


Somewhere on campus, J.P. read the article. Fast forward two plus years, I’m a journalism AND psychology major. I found journalism classes too easy (I had a 4.0 in the major) and I was tired of fighting with egos in the newsroom. J.P. and I were in a psychology class together. One day we were talking about this and that when I mentioned my history with the university paper. Then I mentioned my car. The conversation stopped. She said, “Wait. You wrote for the Shorthorn? You wrote a story about your car a few years ago?” “Yep.” “I loved that story.” She proceeded to quote lines from it. I know, right? So needless to say we became great friends. J Per her request, I’m dusting off the story that brought us together seventeen years ago.



Are Cars Really Worth It?

There it was, with silvery moonbeams dancing on the flawless, slender body. I was sure it would disappear into a cold wintery fog if I blinked.


My first car.


What happiness I felt that cold November day.


A year and four months later, the once paragon 1986 Chevette is a rusted hulk that barely shields me from the elements. Stop laughing. A Chevette may not be the best, but it was mine, and it was perfect—not a scratch, a dent, or a rip. Most important, it was paid for, and by my parents.


I was so happy to have my own transportation, I didn’t mind paying gas and insurance.


But into everyone’s life a little grief must fall.


The first day of exploring UTA on my own, I was drivin’ along jammin’ to some Michael Bolton and THUD? In my rear-view mirror, I see—gasp—a Mercedes. I freaked. I panicked because I thought I had hit the Benz.


I could feel the heat radiate from my mom’s face as I told her of the mishap. I could have roasted marshmallows.


I saw myself on the corner, holding a “will-work-for-food” sign. I just knew I’d pay for the car forever; then die a bum, friendless. As it turned out, the Mercedes guy hit my car. I was so relieved, I forgave him. He was a foreigner—I’m talking steering wheel on the wrong side—and I didn’t want to massacre America’s image.


As I left work a few months later, I saw that my grille was broken. I was upset. What can you do?


Another month passed. I park where I always park, on the street in front of my house, and someone ruined my car’s front. Angry? You better believe it. It was hit number three, and I had no idea who did it—no note, nada, zip. I scanned the neighboring autos for fresh scars. I imagined the drunk that did it would have to be so overcome with guilt that he would wrap his car around a telephone pole in a gesture of atonement.


Then I got paranoid.


My father was incredulous. He could not believe my car had been hit twice when I wasn’t in it. I wouldn’t have believed me either, but that’s no excuse, dad.


Then the big one. Leaving work, I get David, an usher to walk me to my car. (I work at a movie theater.) It is raining, hard, so I ask him to watch me from the door. I got to my car okay and noticed David’s car was bumper-to-bumper against mine. I turned and yelled. When David saw his car, he fell to the ground screaming. Someone had smashed his car into mine. In a special bonding moment, we cried together in the rain.


It’s okay. My car was hit a fourth time, again in the back, a mere few weeks ago. I just let it go. It was actually a plus because the impact restored my air-conditioning.


The thing that hurts is that no one has left a note. They just leave their marks and drive off into the unknown. All this grief makes me wonder—are cars really worth it?  

Tags: writing
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