Thursday, September 15, 2011


bessie is my car. and this post is about bessie.
now i know i'm one of those people, who gets attached to inanimate objects. a trait i've very obviously passed on to my children (yeah, you should see the number of rubbermaid storage bins in my basement), but yesterday, i was able to justify why i'm so attached to this car. this is the story of bessie.

on a humid 90+ degree saturday in July of 2000 i woke up and decided it was time to buy a "new" car. what makes this noteworthy is i was 7 months pregnant with my third child. now after you hear this next bit, you will wonder how i could have ever ended up divorcing a saint such as Steve. because when i informed him he needed to load up the two kids into our van, and that we were going to Kelly's to trade it in all he said was ok. now I saw the look in his eye. the one that says "i dont know why you are doing this, and i want to ask you. but i fear you and those pregnancy hormones so i'm going to just do what you say but so you know, i do think you have lost your mind". yes, his eyes said that. so i did what any sane pregnant woman does. i scream (while crying) "I'M 30 FUCKING YEARS OLD DRIVNG A FOREST GREEN PONTIAC TRANSPORT THAT LOOKS LIKE A SPACESHIP MATED WITH A BOX AND I'M NOT DOING IT ANY MORE!"
so 5 hours, 1 new loan, 2 sobbing sweaty hungry children later: mommy has a 2 door purple pontiac grand sport and the children's beloved van stays behind at Kellys. (it took years for them to forgive me for parting with that van). this is how bessie came to me.

6 months after the birth of child three, we added a third vehicle to our garage. a 1997 Mercury Villager mini van.

i did not give up bessie. at the time i was selling pampered chef to bring income into the household and i used bessie to travel to my shows.  bessie and i rocked out to ballads of love on those sometimes long drives home. bessie and i blasted barney songs while driving the kids to preschool. bessie got left behind when we went on our last family vacation. the mini van was required for that long trek to the coast, and when we got back, things had changed.

 the nostalgic songs of love became cries. 

once upon a time i was falling in love, 
now i'm only falling apart, 
theres nothing i can do, 
a total eclipse of the heart .  . . .

I found you standing there
When I was seventeen
Now I'm thirty-two
And I can't remember what I'd seen in you
I made a promise
Said it everyday
Now I'm reading romance novels
And I'm dreaming of yesterday 

The songs got angrier.

No matter how hard I try
You’re never satisfied
This is not a home
I think I’m better off alone
You always disappear
Even when you’re here
This is not my home
I think I’m better off alone

fast forward a few months and bessie, the kids and i are on our own. im driving down highway 30 in new haven, having just dropped off my bankruptcy papers. i'm losing my house. my husband lives in an apartment and i'm having an anxiety attack so bad i have to pull off the road. i cant breathe. i know its just another anxiety attack, i cant breathe. i'm losing my house, i'm losing my house, i'm losing my house. i've left my husband, my kids are so small.  my baby is 15 months old. i have no job. i have no education. and i've left my husband and i'm losing my house. i love my house. my kids love their house. oh my god. bessie waits until i can drive again.

months later: bessie and i are screaming PINK out the windows: 

hey hey man
whats your problem,
i see your trying to hurt me bad
dont know what your up against. 
maybe you should re consider
come up with another plan
cause you know i'm not that kinda girl
to lay there and let you come first

i'm a few years into this thing, i'm doing it. i'm surviving. i've been hurt. i've been broken. ive been through hell. but i'm getting there. bessie and me. we are going places. i've got a job. i'm doing ok. thats the best of it. i'm doing ok. we are doing ok.

bessie gets flooded. the water is almost up to the radio. the fucking apartment complex has a flash flood zone in front of my apartment. someone forgot to tell me this. the insurance company wants to scrap bessie. but shes paid for so i lie about the depth of the water. i spend all day using a wet vac to get the water out, by myself. always by myself. everything. everything. everything.  i have to cut the carpets, pull out her padding. she smells. the smell never goes away. parts start to rust. the gear shift sticks. i wd40 the hell out of that car. the transmission develops a grinding noise that 8 years later is also still there. she runs. we keep on going.

hate me
hate me today
hate me tomorrow
hate me for all the things I didnt do for you

.  . . . these lyrics come through my speakers and every bit of forward slams me to the ground. i'm on my way to a client meeting and once again i'm on the side of the road. i cant see for the tears. i have snot running down my chin. i'm sobbing. from the depth of my soul. for the first time (but certainly not the last) i mourn the end of my marriage. its like my husband, my best friend, wrote this song for me:

And with a sad heart i say bye to you and wave.
kicking shadows on the street for every mistake that i have made.
and like a baby boy i never was a man.
until i saw your blue eyes cry and i held your face in my hands.
and then i fell down yelling "make it go away!',
just make her smile and come back and shine, just like it used to be . .
 and then she whispers "how could you do this, to me?"


life moves on. you recover. you laugh. you cry. you fall. you get up. and all along the way, i'm singing in my car. i'm singing love songs. and angry songs. and bitter songs. and songs about divorce. and songs about meeting someone new. 3 days grace vents my rage. liz phair becomes my voice. divorce song. fuck and run. johnny feelgood. polyester bride. white chocolate space egg is always on play, over and over. Digger. dear god digger.

little digger, don't be shy
You saw your mother with another guy
You think you'll tell her that she's one of a kind, you say
My Mother is mine

You put your trucks up on the bed next to him
So he can get a better look at them, you say
This ones my favorite one, this one you can't have
I got it from my Dad, you say
I got it from my Dad.

so. today i'm having one of those rare moments when its bessie and i. its been 9 years and 6 months since i decided i could no longer be married. since i decided i needed to do this myself. and bessie and i have been singing a lot more happy songs the last few years. she's taken on more tears, but more smiles.  bessie is a bit worn. not much works. she drives. and the radio still kicks ass. bessie and i, with her windows randomly going up and down. the the wipers shutting off on their own. the windows fogging up. we are having a dance party. lady gaga. LMFAO

Party rock is in the house tonight.
everybody just have a good time.  . ..

 is making us shake our booties. and bessie IS shaking her booty. it may SEEM like an alignment problem but i think its really from all the grooving we've done. she can tear it up off a light. her get up and go is still there. her seats fit perfectly to my form, shes held me for so many years. through the sadness and pain. through the laughs and hilarity that come from girls nights out. shes absorbed spilled drinks. taken the dropped ashes. shes carted kids, been smeared with melted crayons. beat up, knocked down. and expected to hold up with very little care and minimal maintenance. shes strong and solid. rough but comfortable. she's got grit and she's still going. maybe thats why i love her so much. i see my foot resting on that special spot on the door, the wheel dropped low between my knees and we amble on down the road and i realize.

 i love her because not only has she been there for me. she is me. 

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