I’m most comfortable in my car. Correction, I’m most honest in car. Or maybe I’m most human. (Ah, they’re all the same…).
It is my belief that the best place to feel all emotions is inside your car. Particularly your car with no one else present. Not other people’s cars. Other people’s cars are their havens, not yours. You’ve got your own car (maybe you don’t, so, well, I don’t know).
Let me explain. There is no other place in this world where no one can disturb you. I promise. Or maybe it’s that you can’t disturb anyone else? Okay it’s both.
Let’s lay down the basics. I am speaking mainly of driving on freeways. Windows either up or down, depending on your mood, not the weather (entirely). If I could pick the best it would be the late evening, on the freeway, windows down, but heat on half-blast inside the car. It’s a wonderful combination. Back to the type of roads. Freeways are certainly ideal for two reasons. Fast. Fast is fun. The second is contingent upon the first. When driving fast the people and places around you are merely partaking in your life, not you in theirs. I will never care if that tree, sign, or person sees me singing my heart out. They’re only a small part in my grand play. After freeways, you’ve got your highways and main roads. Speed is still decent, however, you have the occasional stop light where others might look at you and judge. Which leads to the whole reason cars are the only place I can truly feel comfortable:
All conventions, societal rules, whatever you want to call them, all of them do not apply in the car (when it is moving). Okay yes, the rules of the road apply, but that is it. You can do whatever you want. You can be disgusting, you can be loud, you can be rude. No one is going to say a thing! You can’t do this in your apartment. You have neighbors. You can’t do this on the street. You might get arrested. You certainly can’t do it at work. Neither can you do it at a restaurant, or a gym, or your parents’ house. No one will allow it. Someone will stop you.
But not in your car.
For starters, and this is and will always be the most important aspect of the car, the music. Not only can you decide what you want to listen to, you can decide at what volume. Loud. Always loud. This option isn’t allowed anywhere else. There’s always someone to disturb. And I can’t listen to anything quiet. I must be enveloped. I am in the song because the car is now the song, and it’s transporting me through time. It’s making me feel everything. So you picked your music, yes. And guess what? You can sing as loud as you want. I told you, no one is going to say a thing! It doesn’t matter how terrible your voice is. You aren’t disturbing anyone. And you don’t have to think about how potentially weird or silly you look singing along (I can’t handle concerts sober), no one is watching you. I have had some of the most emotional sing-a-longs you can imagine in the car. Screaming and crying and laughing and acting. I act all of it out. I perform all of Gypsy, Singin’ in the Rain, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, and Mamma Mia! at least once a week, if not more. And I’m telling you, I would have been a close second to Ethel Merman. Everything would totally come up roses for me, if the roses were coming up in my Honda Element.
Have I ever been this honest with anyone? No. I have not. No one has ever seen me perform Gypsy, and no one ever will.
You can cry in your car. You’re driving and you’re crying. You’re crying and you’re driving. Yes it can hinder you ability to drive, but who is going to tell you to stop crying? I hate when people interrupt crying. It is so rude. Can’t you see I’m busy crying? If I don’t get the full cry out of me, it’s just going to come back later. I will always prefer crying in my car. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done it this year. It always seems I’m running from somewhere, and I need to cry, and I panic, where do I go? I don’t want to see anyone! And then my car presents itself like a guardian angel. You can cry in here, Hilary. Oh thank god. The second I close the door it’s like I’ve entered the panic room, yet it’s a safe panic room. Additionally, of course, you can cry to music. But you already know that. You must know. If a song hasn’t caused you to realize an emotion, you’re listening to the wrong music. Once I was driving to see an old boyfriend of mine. I knew I had been feeling somewhat uncomfortable about him, but I didn’t truly understand my emotions until I was in my car, driving to him, and listening to The Killers “For Reasons Unknown.” We had to break up. Because my heart, it didn’t beat the way it used to. And my eyes, they didn’t see him no more. (I could go on, but I’ll stop).
Well, there’s that great Mom saying, “Calories don’t count in the car.” I’ll stand by it for my whole life. Eat it all! You’re in your car! It’s your rules, not theirs. Get the milkshake, get the fries, and the burger. You’ve got all this driving to do!
This might seem to break the privacy rule of the car, but it seems I’ve told my darkest secrets over the phone in the car. I call everyone in the car. Honestly, everyone. If one person doesn’t answer, I’m on to the next in a second. I’m sorry, you didn’t answer so I’ve moved on. I love to call people in the car. Yes, it definitely has to do with how loud I talk. But remember, I’m not disturbing anyone. And I’m pretty sure my landlord can hear everything I say on the phone in my apartment. (Again, loud talker). The phone does eliminate the music, but it does not eliminate the crying. You can cry on the phone, yes you definitely can. If you’re concerned about how often I cry, just stop it. It is often, but it is not your problem. I love it.
And you don’t want to talk about this. I know you don’t. But you can be so disgusting in your car. What if you sneezed and now there is snot all over the steering wheel? No one is there to tell you it is gross. If a tree falls and no one is around, does it make a sound? So it’s not gross. You’re only human. I’ve puked in my car (into a cup). Yep. It’s true. If someone had been there, it might have been traumatizing, embarrassed for years, but my car is safe and it’s just me so, whatever. That happened. Moving on. I think I have come close to peeing in my car, but it hasn’t happened (yet, I’m terrible at holding my bladder, you’d think I might’ve birthed 8 children).
My Mother always likes to remind me that before I turned 16 I told her, “I’m getting my license, and I’m going over that bridge, and I’m never coming back.” I am so terribly dramatic, but I did nothing of the sort. When I got my license, I drove to the mall, not over the bridge. Why? Because it was 45 minutes, down the same road, you could go fast, and I could sing, and cry, and talk if I wanted to. It was everything I ever wanted.
I fear the day I’m too old to drive. I don’t know how I will ever cope.