The Weekend ~9/27/13 ~ Car Correlations

Car Correlations

I read an article on Thought Catalog where the author equated how a man treats his car to how he treats women. She painted a very compelling correlation between the two. I’m calling them car correlations.

Exhibit One: I have a girlfriend who knew the minute her date picked her up, and she refused to climb into the front seat around all the junk in his car, that his need for a mommy meant it was definitely not going to work between them.  In fairness she’s uber neat.

Note to guys: When a girl demands you clean your car before pulling out of her driveway you’ve got a problem. Just call it quits right there, the two of you are definitely mismatched. And when hiring a cleaning lady my friend’s mother will first ask to see their car. She quickly weeds out candidates. No joke! So cleanliness is important.

Then there was the guy I found attractive at my dance class. However the minute I saw him climb into his truck cab full of slobbering, shedding dogs eagerly awaiting his return I couldn’t imagine him picking me up for a date. We were both recently divorced and I believe he was clearly communicating there was no room in his life for anything else. I would say he had plenty of affection and companionship already.

Don’t even get me started on the guy I passed on my commute to work with the solid gold bulls balls hanging from his truck hitch. And have you ever met a BMW owner who is not ambitious, competitive and Type A? I haven’t.

Now metaphysically speaking the car represents how we move forward in life. Or sometimes don’t.  Like the week I got three flat tires in succession. So I began exploring this metaphor further.

Take for instance my outdoorsy, off-roading, camping, hiking, Jeep owner ex-husband. He was adventurous, took risks, could tackle any challenge and demanded a lot from his vehicles- often running them into the ground. He liked the sense of belonging that came from being a Jeep owner, much like motorcycle owners, nodding to each other like a secret handshake, acknowledging the club, a form of elitism, if you ask me. Desperately wanting to feel a sense of belonging, secretly believing he never quite fit in and constantly striving to prove otherwise. In marriage he was high/low, lots of fun and as I already alluded very demanding of a partner.

Now in fairness we were in our early 20s. He remarried after our divorce and began running marathons, became a vegetarian and gave up beer for wine. Surely he’d start driving a Prius and take on a social cause, I thought.  But no, he ditched the Jeep for an Element. This is still a statement car, all about being noticed, so perhaps very little changes in the long run.

Though it’s not nearly as bold a statement as the 7-Up can green Mustang Convertible I rented at the Denver airport and drove up the pass. Where I ceremoniously buried my wedding band at the very spot we took our vows. I was young once too.

My other ex-husband, like most men I’m attracted to, is entrepreneurial, loves a new job, a new start-up, the beginning of any creative process. He came alive when he was chasing his passions, discovering his purpose, on a quest to find something meaningful in his professional life.

He had a variety of cars during our marriage- a VW bug, Dodge Dakota, and Charger (motorcycle also). You might get the impression he has a variety of interests. So the most literal interpretation one might conclude would be that it was the thrill of the chase, the desire of getting to know a woman intimately that he wished to experience over and over again.

But the most telling car choice, at least in our relationship, was revealed during the switch from the Bug to the Dakota. We weren’t married yet but living together when he decided he wanted a truck. The following morning he drove his new Dakota downtown only to find it didn’t fit in his company’s parking garage. So I ended up driving a new truck and he took my Prism to work every day.

He was impulsive in his decision and obviously hadn’t thought things through fully before jumping in. This could lead him to making the wrong choices about what he wanted in life. Even to marrying a friend instead of waiting for the “something different” he desired for long term happiness, foreshadowing.

Now I suppose it is only fair to turn the tables. This metaphor surely goes both ways.

For the most part I drove the aforementioned Prism through both my marriages and I suppose the majority of my intimate adult relationships. And in essence of full disclosure it was given to me by my parents for college graduation. Now just before the end of my first marriage I got a Tuscon. This started unceremoniously dying on me a few years later after the divorce. Needless to say it had to go. Trust me I’d still be driving it today if it held up under pressure.

So for the first time I could buy a car for myself without any outside input. I loved the height, storage capacity and 4 wheel drive of the Tuscon. I missed the sheer raw power of the Charger. My favorite cars growing up were my Rabbit and Diesel Jetta (even when the engine froze during Colorado winters). I considered the EOS or the Crosstour. But pragmatism won out and I traded it in for a Civic.

Most days my car is an utter mess. I literally live out of it. (No, my friend wouldn’t date me either.) Nor would I be hired to clean houses. (or do dishes as I’d much rather talk after dinner.) There’s a crack that runs nearly the breadth of my windshield that I’m too lazy to get fixed. And until it obstructs my sight line I intend to continue ignoring it.

The thing is I’m strong, independent, self-sufficient and practical. My exs would probably say stubborn and controlling. I’m terribly loyal sometimes past the point of healthy. I’d call what my friend refers to as tenacity of spirit, masochistic. They usually leave me before I leave them. So I know I’ll drive this car until it quits because it is dependable, hardworking and supports my creative life. It allows me to take off at a moment’s notice if so desired.

Or perhaps I’ll throw all caution to the wind and sell it; then run away to live in foreign country. Write endlessly at the window of my studio apartment overlooking the Seine. Because at heart I’m really a dreamer who closes her eyes in rush hour traffic and is flying down Highway 101 in her Karman Ghia convertible.


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