When you get to quit your job and start on something new. When you liked your tasks in general and the people you worked with, but the one in charge just wasn’t… let’s say, in line with what you were looking for…. Is an indescribable event. I had done it. I walked out.
I felt strong. Independent. Free. Capable of anything.
For the new job, I needed a car and picked it up at the rental place on my first morning in freedom. I’m looking for economy and safety, and saving the bucks that I made, so a Toyota was all I could wish for. The champagne from the previous night was still pumping through my veins, but quickly faded when I stepped into that car I had rented just now for a month and drove down the PCH. First, I took a wrong turn and was headed in the other direction, but who cares… Freedom travels both ways. Even when you sit in traffic for half an hour without anything moving, except your car from the wind of the other cars flying by. I’m free, d*mnit!
I decided that my first trip in independence should be to Malibu. Where else, right?! Get some coffee… or tea… or just find an empty parking lot, turn around and go back… whatever. I had rented several cars before and never encountered anything unexpected that I couldn’t handle. This morning, I even dressed the part – not for people to see… (ok, a little bit for people to see- let’s face it: you want to show off your sophistication… or what you think it should look like), but mostly for me to feel.
I had rented the little Yaris, though I was not able to adjust the outside mirrors (couldn’t find the buttons for the life of me), stepped out confidently into the coffee place parking lot, coolness personified, sunglasses adjusted, and locked the door. I tried. I really did. Again. This car didn’t have a clicker, so I had to go through the insert-key-into-keyhole-and-turn routine. This should not be this difficult. I looked around – there was nobody there, but it felt like the world was watching. The door didn’t lock. I was “this” close to bumping my thigh into the door – just to see what would happen. Bewildered and apologetic look on my face. You always see it in the movies. I tried the driver’s door– it opened. Maybe the other door? It opened too. What the he**? Try again… turn left, turn right, click, open. Unlocked. I really want my entrance and my beverage! And not remain a coffee-less fool in the parking lot.
So, here I stand, two University degrees, capable of cursing out this car in five languages, and unable to lock a g*ddamn door.
So I did what any normal person would do: I picked up my freedom, my independence, my dignity, and we all got into the car and drove my partially dressed-up self back to the stupid rental place. The look on my face going back on the PCH was less relaxed – the freedom had faded quite a bit. And why does this guy in front of me not know how to drive? AT ALL??
What comforted me was that the car rental person didn’t know how to handle this either. But I got an exchange – my favorite vehicle from the past: a Hyundai Accent… very gas efficient and I don’t look like a complete moron in it. At least not more than in the Yaris. I like it. Guy wanted to get it washed for me (I didn’t mind the stains and the slight smell of… whatever that was once upon a time). He returned 10 minutes later and let me know that I would now get a Corolla… Alrighty – Toyota seems to like me. At this point, I really didn’t care.
Freedom, Independence, and I adjusted our mirrors, and went to get some juice. Juice is better for you than coffee, anyway. And I wasn’t going to go all the way back to Malibu for coffee – that ship had sailed! I parked the car, and just then noticed that this one didn’t have a clicker either. I honestly did not know that Toyota was a fan of the physical key to lock its doors. I tried to lock it.. turned right… nothing. Turned left… ahaaa!!
That worked out nicely. We’re getting to know each other. I like it.
The good news is: I got my juice. I know – you drive out looking for coffee, and what you end up getting is way better for you. And, very exciting side note: LA’s Jacaranda trees are starting to bloom. Soon, the town will be dipped in purple again. I can’t wait. I’ll be sure to lock my doors as I drive along the glowing alleys. Wish me luck!