When Is A Car Not A Car…
It’s no secret I attach significance to some material possessions. Not all, but the special things around me that have their own story, symbolise something, make me feel something.
Cars are funny things. I’ve owned quite a few since my very first, an old boxy navy blue Magna with a digital dash.
My favourite, I think, will always be my little ‘tonka truck’ Feroza that I took great pleasure (and money) in ‘pimping out’ (still didn’t get my monster truck wheels though, next time). It symbolised to me fun and freedom; convertible, taz devil number plates and wheel cover, as-dark-as-you-can-legally-go window tinting, blasting sound system that I installed myself, and a custom made designed-by-me sump guard for the undercarriage, my go anywhere mini monster truck. I sold it when I was pregnant with my Bug to a South African couple. I even let them have the wheel cover (although I kept the number plates) because they loved it so much. A convertible two door 4wd is just not practical with a baby. It’s still going, I saw it happily parked next to the beach last year. I took a picture.
The car that I have now is special to me. It was the only thing I bought with the inheritance from my dad. This car also symbolises freedom to me, for different reasons to the Feroza. It is the first car in a long time that is just mine, that no one can take away from me. It is my little beast and I am madly in love with it; every day I appreciate that I have it.
The car that I had before that, not so much. Negative emotions strongly attached to that car, so much so that I swapped cars with my mother for months, until I bought my new one. I couldn’t stand looking at it, let alone driving it. The bombodore.
At the time of our breakup, my x and I had two cars. Or rather, he had ‘his’ car and I had the ‘bombodore’. It was never a discussion which one I would have when we separated. He just took the new car, car y, the car I searched the country for, negotiated the price on, fitted out with colour coded customised plates for a birthday present. The car I wasn’t allowed to drive, unless absolutely necessary.
The bombodore is long gone, but car y seems to have become larger than life, symbolising a twisted mess of emotions and memories and pain. It is a sore spot like no other, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why (or more to the point, why I can’t get over it). It brings out a flurry of anger and vicious gut wrenching anxiety, akin to the rather horrible panic attacks I get whenever I see my x.
I’ve discussed this to death with friends. I’ve vented to my support people who just sit there and listen. In a fit of desperation, I even tried going to the source for answers, only to be told, essentially, to ‘toughen up and get over it’ (like that’s not what I tell myself, you don’t think I know it’s a stupid thing to be upset over?). My once well-loved job that I loved going to, has again become a thing to dread and a source of anxiety, simply because my x’s girlfriend has changed jobs and now parks his (their?) car outside my office and I walk past it on my way in, I walk past it on my way out, I see her get into it and drive off to lunch (with him?), and I see her come back. Yay.
There are several theories as to why this all upsets me so much, none of which I’ll discuss here. None of them feel quite right; they feel slippery, moving when I try to catch them. The emotions are so complicated I can’t even express them in words, let alone understand them. I feel like an idiot, getting upset over a car. I tell myself it’s a stupid hunk of metal, without feelings or meaning or significance. It’s just a car.
Except that it’s not. There is a story to that car, not one bit of it nice. Even when we were together, car y was a major source of angst and arguments and resentment. It was also the olive branch offered the day before the world as I knew it ended with a text message. I don’t have a single happy memory of that car. And now it symbolises everything that is not as it should be and it drives around like a moving kick in the gut. And, like so many other things in my life, there is nothing I can do about it but try to accept it and move on. Huzzah.