Thursday, August 20, 2009

They said "Get a life" and she did

I'd like to announce a Naming Contest for my latest set of wheels here in the USA: A 2006 Honda Accord SE, 4-door, automatic (thank God, my Bay Area 5-speed got old fast), clean as a whistle, 18K miles for $16,850. Of course it was close to twenty grand when all was said and done. My little red Hyundai in Scotland was ultimately named Highland Red by Susan here in Georgia. I'm leaning towards the liturgical and medieval saintly without being too sacrilegious. Anyway, the prize is a drive to the local restaurant of your choice when you come and visit me! Ok, perhaps we'll head to the ocean.....

Klaus is Susan's husband and accompanied me to CarMax the 1st Day there, a brilliant shopping companion for such a borderline overwhelm. I frankly think it makes him even more manly that he gave me permission to post this photo of him in his/their/our driveway just in his socks! "They match the car, Klaus, you're cool," I reassured him. CarMax is a dealer that has NO haggling. Could I have saved, oh, two grand buying private party? Of course. And spent x-amount of time careening all around the Greater Metro Atlanta area plus arranging to schlepp each possibility to a mechanic..... No, they're the best choice for me and did a superb job (thanks, Denese and Chris!) for finding this pearly white gem.

When I first arrived in Scotland back in April which seems like only yesterday or last week, I was down to my last two months of Day-Timers. I've used these analog calendars for 18 years. I love them. They're a healing, grounding antidote for all the hours I spend in front of a screen, digitizing my life on so many levels. I write in pencil and use erasers when I change my mind. You couldn't give me a PDA - I'm wired enough. And when I went to order another set of 12 for the coming year, I paused.

I couldn't do it for weeks. I was slam-dunk arrested by having lived with the never far away awareness that I didn't know how much time I had. I know, it might seem silly for you reading this. Hello? Just order it and put the rest in God's Hands! But you see, I'd never stared at death's possibility quite like that before. A year's worth of Day-Timers? WHY?

I ordered them, finally.

When I left the Bay Area, I donated my 2003 Honda Civic LX to some Franciscan brothers with whom I'd grown in friendship. I gave away 80% of my belongings. I packed the remainder into my 5X10 storage unit. "Either I start anew from scratch or my Executors get to rummage through this lot..." I created a Living Trust, agonizing over whom to appoint to DO things after I died and in fact right before. Oh I hated that!

I did it though.

So buying a car careens into my heart on multiple levels, from acknowledging a continuing life to hearty self-worth to almost apologetic gratitude. Coming up with nearly $20,000 was really hard. I'm fifty-three. "This amount once bought a house! And why isn't it buying a Mercedes?" Live long and mourn inflation. But I knew what I wanted: A comfortable, clean, Consumer Reports-lovin', fuel-efficient car. The only thing it's missing is satellite radio and YOU in it for a drive!

Today I amble over to the Georgia DMV (Dept. of Driver Services) to surrender (the rats) my California Driver's License and get one for this State. I both adore and cringe at the photo on my California license, which is from 2003 and, well, let's just say a lot has happened in the past six years. Ahem. "Wow, you look HOT!" many say when they see it. "Yes, shut up while you're ahead, please," I think. Life on life's terms including photographic proof.

A car. How damn middle class, how bourgeois, how ordinary,

How miraculous. I'm still alive and well enough to think in terms of going places. I'm well enough to cop a resentment at another government agency telling me what I have to do and when. I'm well enough to think of this Saturday's Lookout Mountain Sacred Harp Convention near Collinsville, Alabama, two hours and one time zone to the west.

If this wasn't a part of the country more conservative than California, I might even consider a Bobble Head Jesus doll for my car! I love the Lord and also have a left-leaning sense of humor.

Hondas last a long time. Everyone knows that. I have yet another friend rootin' for the longer-haul while I praise God for TODAY.


  1. Diane
    Great wheels...yes, I recently renewed my AARP membership...and I was ambivalent...should I just get the one year renewel...who knows...or should I throw caution to the wind, and sign on again for five years...but then...who knows what this tumor will do...I compromised...signed up for three years. Wild and crazy.

    You'll look great driving around in your ________ . Naming a car is such a personal thing. It requires much thought. I'll have to ponder a bit since the contest has no closing date...Don't wait too long, though...there is nothing worse than a car with an identity crisis. You know, that feeling..."I'm just another (VIN) number!!!

  2. I had just enough time to Publish your words and then dash out the door for Try #2 with the Georgia DMV, this time emerging successful (sic) with a wholly pathetic driver's license photo. Join the world, I moan.... That's what I get for complaining about my now-former California Girl shot.

    My car's Deepening Identity in waiting is as well made slightly worse by having temporary plates ('tags' they call them here). I have another 3 weeks for that, now that I have appeased the odd Georgia Law that demanded I get a Georgia DL in 7 days - ! No closing date for the Great Naming Contest could be a good sign as well.... and heck, AARP for 3 years! I got the 5-year license! We can live wildly and with great grins.... and breath for Today.

  3. Congratulations on the new car and the new DayTimers! May I suggest the name Olwen (meaning "white path") for the new ride?
    We love you!!!
    Felicia & William.

  4. Diane,

    I am not one to throw in the towel this early into a contest, but I gotta admit...Olwen sounds pretty cool, and if, in fact it means "white path", well, that's money. (by the way F & W...what language?) I knew it when I had the thought..."if I had a white car, I, myself, would now name it Olwen...When your opponent has three aces showing, you just quietly turn the cards over. I fold.