For a week I drove a rental car.
For a week, I saw the world from on high.
In a Camry.
My car is a Corolla. A compact, unblemished jewel of a car. Or it was unblemished, until it was broadsided by a petite woman in a large car who wasn’t paying attention. That’s what I told the oblivious woman the minute I stepped out of my dented vehicle, after swerving around her and getting clipped on the passenger’s side door, after thinking I was free and clear, after merging into the right lane so she could complete her turn into the left, after seeing her monstrous vehicle pull out from a side street to make a left hand turn without pausing at the island, after thinking, she’s going to hit me! And then…I made it! And then…
I pulled over, shaking with fury, and got out of my car. She got out of hers. I gave her a steely stare. And that’s when I delivered my line:
“You were not paying attention.”
I could have waved my arms and stormed around and made my face a jolly good red, but I just gave her the steely stare and said, “You were not paying attention.” My meditation practice had kicked in.
I took my car to the autobody shop to be repaired and they gave me a Camry as a loaner. A bright all-white 2013 Camry with black leather seats that hugged my body. It had Surround Sound. Tinted windows. New car smell wafting from the vents. Mirrors through which I could see the entire street behind me without having to crank my head to look. The mechanic handed me the keys and I climbed up into the Captain’s seat and buckled myself in and thought, how the heck am I going to parallel-park this beast?
For the first day I was discombobulated. Driving to work, I got lost. From up high, the streets I drove every day looked unfamiliar. I could see the road in front of the car in front of me.
By the second day I wanted to take this beast on a road trip. And I don’t like driving. But this car…this car rolled like silk. The blinkers made a muted click, click, click sound. The dashboard lit up to a liquid blue at night. The seat fit like the palm of a hand. I felt like a new woman. Strangers, I was certain, were wondering who the babe was, stepping out of the Camry.
For a week, the world looked different.
And then I got the call. My car was done a day early. “You can pick it up in thirty minutes,” the mechanic said in a cheery tone on the phone.
I slumped at my desk. “Oh,” I said. “What time do you close?”
I straightened up. “I can’t make it in today. I work until five-thirty. I’ll bring it back in the morning.” (After a side trip to Tahoe and Yosemite and…) I hung up.
In the morning, I took my time. I shot gas into the tank, posing alongside the Camry, gazing into the distance in case anyone wanted to snap a photo. I climbed back into the Captain’s seat and rolled down the window and waved in a queenly manner to anyone looking my way. At the autobody shop, the woman at the front desk had to pry the keys from my hand. She handed me mine.
I stepped outside and looked at my car, shiny and undented and…tiny.
Now I’m back to driving my Corolla.
But in my mind, I’m still driving the Camry.
Last rental car we drove didn’t turn out so well! Love the fact you managed to get the word discombobulated into your post.
If was no easy feat!
Very cute story! I have to admit that I love my Camry . I don’t feel fancy, though. Ha ha! Now Erin much prefers her little corolla. Much easier to park!!
You’d feel fancy if you’d been driving a Corolla. Not that I have anything against the Corolla. It’s a great little parker, for sure.