Skip to main content

I Love My Car


I love my car. It fits me.

We've been traveling for nearly a month already, and when we travel as a family we go in Steve's car - it's bigger, and since he prefers to do all the driving it just makes sense. But we needed to drive separately to Lancaster for this week's festival, for complex logistical reasons that need not be discussed here. Getting back into my little bug all by myself was just so freeing!

I love my car. It is zippy and responsive. It's a stick shift, which makes me feel powerful and makes good use of my busy energy. The seat and all of the controls fit me just right, and the steering wheel is skinny and nubby and spins easily under my hands. The car speeds up when I push the gas, and roars encouragingly when I shift from gear to gear. It operates in a satisfyingly mechanical way - although I know it's full of computers like every other car I am not aware of them while driving. I can feel the road and hear the engine, and when I have driven cushier cars I have always felt a little isolated from the world. Comfortable, certainly, and able to hear the stereo - but disconnected from the driving experience.

On the outside, my Beetle is overtly adorable - it's red and round and makes me smile every time I see it, even after all these years (I've had it since 2003). Other people smile at it, too. However, if you look a little more closely, you can tell that my car has been around the block a few times. The bumpers are scuffed and scarred from years of parking on Chicago's streets, and there's a substantial gash in the paint below the passenger door where I might have slightly driven over a curb once. It has 179000 miles on it, give or take.

It is cute enough to be forgiven a lot, but happens to also be very basically reliable. My car has given me almost no trouble at all. I change the oil and the tires, and it just keeps going, and I just adjust to its quirks. For example, the outside temperature gauge no longer works, so the dash display usually looks like --- but occasionally pops up as -49F which is always amusingly wrong. The climate control knob is installed backwards, so the arrow end has to point AWAY from the thing you actually want it to do. The lock button on the remote only works in cold weather, and the alarm tends to reset arbitrarily as I am loading myself and my stuff in so that it starts honking like crazy when I turn the ignition key as if I were trying to steal the thing. Which, if I were going to steal a car, I would totally steal mine because I love it so much.

It reminds me of me.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discouraging Words

I can remember at least two old cranky violinists coming to talk to young me about NOT going into music.  There was a session, for example, during a Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra retreat in which a real RPO professional (who was probably 47 but whom I remember as ancient) told us that, statistically, no one who graduates from music school wins auditions for jobs because there are only like 4 jobs out there in the world and 7000 hotshots coming into the job market every week. 

Quit NOW. 

I may have misremembered the details of this speech, but I remember the emotional jolt.  It was designed to discourage.

Last weekend I was presenting at a Double Reed Festival, and heard some oboists grumbling about another presenter who had evidently given something of the same talk to a roomful of masterclass attendees and participants.  High school students and cheerful adult amateurs.

And look, there's an element of truth to this.  Classical music is not a growing field, and it is leg…

Shaq and the Oboe

Here’s my FAVORITE thing about that Shaquille O'Neal video everyone's sharing this week - it’s how HAPPY he is playing this silly game and how little he CARES what the oboe actually SOUNDS LIKE or how to play it. 
Almost as if the oboe is not a giant obstacle to overcome.

Instead of focusing on the CRAFT of the instrument, the precise fingerings, the quality of the sound, the finesse of the vibrato - his focus is on DELIVERING the SONG.   It’s on COMMUNICATION, not perfection.


What a LIBERATING concept!


When I am playing my best, I find that I can surpass the STRUGGLE and come to a place where my focus is on communication.   I can sing through the instrument, and I can use that voice to reach out and find someone else.  This is really what being In the Zone means for me - it's when I don’t have to engage with the OBOE and instead can be generous with my VOICE for the audience.


I seek and strive for this Zone all the time - it’s the whole point of practicing! I practice long…

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

We took a vacation this summer.This is not news to anyone in my life - anyone who knows me or especially Steve on Facebook followed along with all of our pictures.We took our travel trailer out to Arizona - via St Louis, Tulsa, Amarillo, Roswell, Santa Fe - and then stayed a week in Clarksdale and Flagstaff and visited some ancient pueblo ruins, Sedona, Jerome, the Lowell Observatory, the Grand Canyon.We swam in swimming pools, lakes, and icy mountain streams.We hiked.Eventually we came home again, via Albuquerque, Amarillo, Tulsa, and St Louis. (our inventiveness had somewhat worn out).After a week at home we took another trip, and drove to Vermont via western NY and the Adirondack Park (stayed an extra day to hike a mountain), lived four days in East Franklin VT, and came home via Catskill and eastern Ohio.
This vacation felt different from all of our previous ones.In the 21 years we’ve been married, I can name only one - maybe two trips we ever took that were not For Work or For …