Sunday, January 9, 2011

I remember we were driving, driving in your car...

...the speed so fast I felt like I was drunk.
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder,
And I had a feeling that I belonged,
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.
-Tracy Chapman, "Fast Car"
(Aren't y'all impressed that I came up with the one car song performed by a woman?! Love me some Tracy Chapman. )

Well, folks - it's a done deal. I am the proud owner of a new-to-me car. And I will surprise you all by saying that it was not one that was on my original list of 6 cars I was considering. It's got the cute, car-like feel I loved about my CR-V and is has a third row for when I need more space.

Isn't she just so pretty?

I bought "Maddox" the MDX earlier this week, but didn't really consider her MINE until she got the A-OK from my beloved car mechanic. (Sidenote, I am NOT in the business of endorsing products/services on my blog, but if you want a recommendation for a fantastic mechanic, give Robert from Autobahn Automotive a call. Honest, professional, skilled - I can't say enough about how great he is!)

She's a 2008 Acura MDX, and I love her. We're gonna call her Maddie for short. Oh, and my very favorite thing about her?
Yes, friends. That's a seat heater over on the right. So my tush will be nice and toasty on these cold mornings!

So, I must tell a story that is part amusing story and part embarrassing confession. Names have been changed to protect the innocent (particularly since a key character hasn't yet heard the tale!). This is going to lay out for all of the e-world the fact that I'm still clinging much too tightly to my middle school-era inferiority issues. I was a goofy nerd who didn't fit in very well and spent a lot of time wishing she was in the cool crowd. In a lot of ways, that is still an unfairly large part of my grown up identity. Remember my Muffins FOR Mom story from this spring? My interaction with those moms stems from the same inferiority complex. Different verse, same as the first.

For a little background, we go to a church in downtown Raleigh that is filled with a very diverse group of people. As you might expect in a historic downtown congregation, there are lots of people who earn a good living as attorneys, doctors, politicians. There are many beautiful people who I can only imagine have been in the cool crowd for most of their lives. There are also plenty of us "regular folks" who eke out a living working with cows & goats (my dear hubs) or as teachers, secretaries, plumbers. ALL are welcome, regardless of whether we shop at Target or swanky downtown boutiques; regardless of whether we are high profile politicians or underappreciated preschool teachers.

Background tidbit #2 ... we live on the very edge of a really nice area of town. Real estate prices in our city are are significantly higher if you live inside the beltline (ITB) than outside. While we can spit over the beltline from our backyard, we are on the inside. Some people readily identify as ITB people, old Raleigh people. I just don't fit that mold. I'm an ITB poser.

So, I was telling a friend from church that while I really loved this car, I just wasn't sure it fit me. Confused, she asked me for more detail. I said something like "It's too pretty. It's for beautiful, thin people who have their act together. Not flustered people like me who will immediately fill it with last week's junk mail and crush Cheerios into the floormats. It's too ITB. It's too FBC-ish. Too attorney-ish. I don't really belong in it. It's the kind of car someone like our friend Dana* should drive." (Dana* is a mutual friend from church who is a beautiful, poised, classy attorney - and one of the world's nicest and most genuine people. When I think of a woman who has it all together, she immediately comes to mind.)

My friend's response ... "You do know what kind of car Dana* drives, don't you? An Acura MDX. Hers is white, but otherwise it's just like yours. And need I remind you that you do in fact go to FBC? And you do live ITB."

Ouch. Truth hurts sometimes. And sometimes who we appear to be on the outside doesn't line up with the inner dorky girl on our inside. While I see myself as a grown up version of the dorky nerd who doesn't really fit in, others may see me as an ITB-dwelling, FBC-attending, Acura driver.

Yes, I plan to tell Dana* this story and let her know that I think she drives the perfect car that is as beautiful and classy as she is.

So, the song is even more perfect. It's not only about a car, but captures that feeling of belonging, that feeling that - if only for this moment - all is right with the world. Good song. Great car. I'm just hoping I can grow into it and become the classy woman who belongs in such a nice car. I have a feeling that I can be someone, be someone.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to take my first ride in Maddie!

P.S. Enjoy your heated seats. I will have a hard time ever driving a car again that doesn't have heated seats. (Wow - do I sound spoiled or what!?!)

Joye said...

This was a great post, Jen! You're so funny! :)

I, too, loved me some Tracy Chapman back in the day. Perfect song, for a perfect post, to describe the perfect car for a perfect owner.

Congrats on the new ride!

Beth said...

This made me laugh out loud. It is so funny how certain cars come with a built-in expectation of their owners.

Signed, a Prius owner

Derek said...

Jen--You are old Raleigh, you've been here probably longer than the vast majority of residents.
Beth--I once heard an NPR commentator ask "Where in the Toyota factory do they put the Obama stickers on the Priuses?"

Beth said...

Derek - We have to buy them factory-installed, otherwise we would have to put down our lattes or white wine and stop hugging the trees for a couple of minutes. If you are listening to NPR, you are well on your way to being a Prius owner. It's so left-wing, you know. ;)

Anonymous said...

Never mind the ITB or FBC identity sticker for Maddie....she is the perfect ride for my 2 favorite boys and plenty of room for more if needed!! OUCH, Beth! My son-in-law drives a Prius and yes....I think it suits him fairly well!! I love tree huggers.... LYTB, AJ

Jamie Blackburn said...

I love her, and while you may feel like a "goofy nerd", the rest of us know the truth: you are the put-together, classy, beautiful person that should drive that car! So get in there and squash those Cheerios with abandon!

PS My seat heater on my car is broken and I actually made mom buy me a plug-in heated blanket for my car this year for Xmas so I could have a "heated seat"

PPS Derek and Beth- we have a Prius and I had to laugh at your commentary... it's funny because it's true!

Dawn said...

You need to write for a living Jen! Your blogs make me laugh out loud.

I have never seen anyone act and live with as much faith, courage and grace as you and Derek this past summer. You most definitely are one of the most beautiful people I know.

Congrats on the new ride and the warm buns! For the record, my MDX is old. I hear squeaks under the booster seats, but refuse to acknowledge the critters living under there off of the remains left from crazy boy children and I don't live ITB :) I do attend an absolutely amazing church with folks like you though and I'm so glad about that.

From one inner nerdy girl to another, much love,

Sush said...

Just re-read this posting and I gotta say...
It give an entirely new light to the term...bun warmer.

Just sayin'