Monday, May 9, 2011

The Libby Lu

When I was 19, I got my very own car. I technically had means of transportation before this; however, it was a shared vehicle and it did not come without battles with my older brother. On the last day of school my Freshman year in college, my parents showed up to pick me up. In one of my typical bratty tirades, I refused to come down to the front of the dorms to meet them. “CAN’T YOU JUST BRING THE BOXES UP WITHOUT MY HELP!?” I was up to my elbows in clothes, Tupperware containers, stilettos, papers, and just SHIT. I was completely un-prepared for their arrival due to my horrific hangover. I eventually stomped off down the 4th floor hallway of Burge, tore down the four flights of stairs, and burst out into the May sunshine complete with my best bitch glare. There, before me was a cherry red Jeep Liberty with a giant white bow on top of it. My mom was standing there with the biggest smile on her face, tears in her eyes, and a set of keys jiggling in her hands (which ironically had a ‘princess’ keychain on it). That day, I met the love of my life – The Lib.
Words cannot express the role that this car has played in my adult life. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But this Jeep has been there for me through a whole lot of shit. It’s been my escape vehicle; my escape from people, places, bad experiences, the whole gambit. I’ve driven the Lib just about everywhere…including a 17-hour (each way) solo road trip to Canada to visit my boyfriend, one of the Lib’s proudest quests, but not mine. She has been my flee machine from angry late night fights with friends and ex’s. The steering wheel has met my forehead countless moments, when life has gotten so overwhelming, that my neck just crumbles and my face falls into the wheel. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have jumped in the Lib and had no destination whatsoever. I just had to go. She’s driven me to job interviews and provided a private space for me to burst into tears when I didn’t get it. Since I have been living at home post-college, she has truly become an escape vehicle when I need to get away from my parents. She has also been witnessed all sorts of jovial moments in my life too; when I landed a job, when I was driving to Colorado for Spring Break, when I found out that one of my best friends was engaged, on sleepy summer nights when I just needed to clear my head and get a firm grip on my life. There have been funny memories in the Lib as well – like the time I got pulled over by a bike cop at Kinnick Stadium for having 11 drunks jammed in. Or the time that the Lib was detained by the valet at Diamond’s Strip Club because I felt the need to mouth off to the owner. Or the time…wait, I can’t tell you about that time.
There is something about being on the open road that is downright therapeutic. In my car, nobody can judge me. I have come to accept that people will stare when I am jamming out, but I will never see them again. The sound system in the Lib is just about par. It’s nothing great, but it’s not awful and most importantly, it works. The sound system has played songs that have inspired me, even lead me to take a new path in life, been a catalyst for life-altering decisions. The Lib has been my sanity.
I like to look at the simple things in life, things that we take for granted every day, and dissect them, inspect them, think about every facet of them. Your car is one of those simple things that you never really think about, but really plays a huge role in your life. The Lib has 148,698 miles on it as of today. I know that she has precious time left, and when she goes…tears will be shed. I’ll get a new car and make new memories in that car, but as the saying goes, “You’ll never forget your first.”