It’s over. I am officially old.
I have joined the ranks of my sisters, who already travel in gray and tan, opting for automotive anonymity. I now own a beige over brown Subaru.
The reasons were rational. One man who hit my car trying to pass me in a parking garage. Another man, young and lost, who jumped into my car trying to kill himself, both in the same day.
I could no longer drive my bright orange, faster than the speed of light HHR – the car I had owned and loved for 5 years. I couldn’t bear the thought of getting behind the wheel, could not stop seeing him leap, hearing the sound of his body hitting my car, his hand breaking the glass, his slow roll off the back fender, striking the ground, lying on the side of the road.
The fact that I was not at fault for either accident, the fact that I knew this, knew I was virtually helpless, a target for the truck and then the boy made no difference, still makes no difference. My confidence is gone. My joy of driving, of feeling the car on the road – is gone.
In their place is a woman who feels ill every time she approaches a car, who can’t drive and yet doesn’t want to be in the passenger seat. I need potatoes but can’t bring myself to drive to the store five minutes from my house. I want to see my horse but the stable is 11 miles away – a drive too far.
Officially, I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. A therapist is trying to help me cope. A doctor is caring for my stomach aches and sleepless nights. And I am working slowly but surely to relearn something that I have been doing for 47 plus years.
On back roads, early in the morning when there is no traffic, I am learning to believe that the boy walking up ahead is not going to jump in front of my car; the truck waiting at the crossroads is not going to pull out into my side.
I am learning to drive again in a slower, drabber world, in automotive anonymity where I can hide in my brown over beige Subaru.