When I was 18, endless hours as a coat check girl finally earned me enough money to buy a 1984 Ford Mustang. Recently, when I told Sam about that car, he said “Cool Mom!” –his 10 year old mind frantic at the thought of a sleek, fast, gas guzzler. No, no. There was exactly nothing cool or fast about MY car.
One day, I remember driving to the local library to study; a habit born to help me escape my father’s drunken Arabic yelling and my mother’s quiet crying. 18 is just too young to fight an unending war in your house.
Long before, I had learned that at the library, I escaped into my books and papers knowing they would ultimately be my ticket to a better life. That fateful day, I parked the car outside the building, removed the key and went in. I had just unpacked my highlighters in 6 colors, countless notebooks and texts when two security guards came racing to my table.
“Miss…miss…”they stammered. “Your car…that you just parked..it’s on fire. There appears to have been an explosion.”
Heart pounding, I walked out to see my car engulfed in flames and smoke. As fire engines shrieked, and a mandatory evacuation ensued, I sobbed. Not because I, or worse, some innocent stranger could have been killed. Not because there was a front page story in the making. I sobbed because, at that moment, I had a revelation: never again would I drive a leaking, creaking, self-combusting car. I knew, right there on that side walk, I would someday have a better car: one that was comfortable, predictable, safe.
The rain sensing wipers rhythmic swipes triggered this memory as I sat in my cool car today. My BMW certainly is comfortable, predictable, and safe. And, come to think of it, so is my life.