August 29, 2010

My Car's Going on Vacation

It could happen only on Facebook.

Three days ago, a long-time, well-loved friend from college posted something along the lines of, "Hey! Anyone got a minivan I can borrow?"

Today, she borrowed mine.

A little crazy, right? I mean, who lends out their car. Their only car. To someone they haven't seen in three, maybe four years. For a multi-state joy ride.

Yeah, that would be me.

Bear with me for a minute. There's a point, but it'll take us a few paragraphs to get there.

See, I learned a ton of things from my marriage. You spend a lot of time, in the after, thinking about how you got where you were, the choices you made, the things about you that contributed to the demise of all that hope and bliss. Because it takes two. Just as a marriage takes two, so does a divorce. So does any part of any relationship, really.

Then you look at your other relationships, too, so you can fit those choices into patterns. Because if there's a part of you running around killing your relationships, you want to know what it is, right? So you can make it stop, find fulfillment, a lifetime of joy, blah blah blah.

I remember one fellow, many years ago (well it would have to be, wouldn't it? I mean, I was married, like, forEVer). We broke up. I mean, he broke up with me. Not politic, but true.

I was pushing him for the why's, and he said, "Well, you're too happy. And you give too much."

Why, yes. Yes, those do sound like reasons to end a relationship.

That wasn't all he said, of course. And, in truth, they are perfectly good reasons. I mean, seriously, do you want to live with Rachael Ray? Love her to pieces - I know a kindred spirit when I see one - but perpetual pep can be a bit challenging in a life partner. You need someone who sees the ups and downs, who sails them right alongside you. And the giving thing ... well. If you're the right kind of person, it creates an obligation that's hard to live up to. If you're the wrong kind of person, it's an advantage, an invitation to just keep taking. And either way, you're both kind of screwed.

The thing is, these flaws are fundamental to who I am. It's really hard to take the happy out of yourself. To make yourself stop giving. I've never figured out quite how to do it. And I've learned that I don't want to.

So I lent my friend my car. For a week. She's driving it to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. She invited me to go, too, long before she invited my car. But my kids started school last week, and we can't take the time off. I'm sending my car in my place. It'll spend a week enjoying the sand, the sun and the sound of the surf, and the entertaining company of my friend. And I will get to drive her little hybrid, with its built-in navigation system - a nav system that I believe, in my heart of hearts, will magically make me on time to things.


Have fun, little car. Bring my friend and her family back safely.

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