Friday, August 31, 2018

Rat on a Wheel

All those working years...running on the wheel and never really getting anywhere.  The view never changed.

In 1990, I experienced a feeling I never had before; love at first sight. It hit me so hard that I would become obsessed and never recover.  I lusted in my heart and developed a sense of envy.  These were new sensations for me. I shared my feelings with King Rat and he didn't understand. He tolerated my obsession, knowing I would never act on my feelings. It wasn't practical.  It wasn't frugal.  He assumed it was a phase.

In 2009, I could deny my feelings no longer. My job had been eliminated. I was devastated. I didn't know how to begin to cope.  On my last day of work, my friend took me out in her convertible.  Top down, music blaring, tearing up the back-country roads, she drove while I cried until no tears were left.  Then, after some silence, we began to sing.  We belted out tunes at the top of our lungs until we were hoarse and began to laugh.  It was the most freeing feeling in the world.  She dropped me off at my car and I drove home feeling calm and resolute that something had to change.

After nearly thirty years of marriage, I could not deny my passion any longer.  I walked in the door and announced the time had come. I had waited long enough. We were getting a MIATA.

Never one to deny me of anything I truly want, King Rat agreed, we should get a Miata. King Rat assumed that if the car could last one good summer, I could indulge my obsession and then we would resume our lives as normal.

After scouring Craigslist we found a Miata at an impound yard / car lot that was aptly named "OK Used Cars".  The poor car had been abused.  The rear window was spray painted black.  Every light was broken.  There were scratches and dents aplenty.  The interior had the distinct aroma of old man sweat mixed with alcohol.  He took it for a test drive anyway.  After determining that the car was mechanically sound, the salesman remained in the passenger's seat, King Rat tossed me the keys and with a twinkle in his eye said, "See what you think."

I climbed in the driver's seat and off we went. It was nice, but it wasn't practical, it wasn't frugal. Common sense returned.  I pulled back into the parking lot with my cold feet and told King Rat my new feelings. Much to my surprise, he declared, "We are getting this car."

$1295 later, I was zipping away from the car lot, top down, stereo on, hair blowing and feeling total joy while King Rat followed behind in our practical, frugal sedan.  Less than two miles into my journey, a deer bolted across the road in front of me. King Rat couldn't believe his eyes. Fearing the worst was about to happen, he hoped and prayed for the best. I on the other hand was grinning ear to ear, enjoying the unencumbered view of the deer.  What a great new way to experience nature! This view from the rat wheel had changed dramatically.

There were many cosmetic repairs to be done, but they gave us something to focus on rather than worrying about the job situation.  We sing at the top of our lungs.  All of that singing brings in fresh air and deep breaths and puts us in a blissful state of mind. We created some ground rules.  No politics or jobs are to be discussed in the Miata. Miata-time is happy time.

Ten summers later, we are still driving that "OK Used Car." It is more than OK.  Boy howdy. It is our favorite thing in the world.  We look forward to opening the door and inhaling the faint whiff of sweaty old man that we were never able to completely erase, popping the top and climbing in. Each journey taken in the car gives us a complete sense of happiness and joy.

Funny thing is, I rarely drive it. It wasn't love at first sight, but King Rat has developed an obsession with our Miata. He loves to take the wheel while I enjoy taking in the view. The best part of it all is being at the side of the the man who I love even more than I love the Miata.

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