I had done this a few times previously. I would not turn off the car in the right orderâ€”set to Park, turn wheels, take out key. But this time, I messed up.
I came back to discover that the steering column was locked and the key wouldn’t turn. Having rarely driven a car most of my life, I panicked. I tried calmly telling myself that it was something that I could find in the manual. It said to jiggle the steering wheel and the key. I did it first gently, then a little harder. Nothing. Only panic.
I had dropped off the check for my landlord up high in the hills of upper Noe Valley/Diamond Heights. I had slept less than 4 hours the night previously and was looking forward to an evening surrounded by Thanksgiving goodies. But there I was.
I called Chris. With his concerned voice, I let all the pent-up panic, frustration, fears spill out. It was silly. I was embarrassed too. I was reluctant to call anyone else to help me with my disordered list of parking causing me to be in this situation. Not to mention that I was blocking a driveway. He calmly told me the next steps. Nothing. I tried again and again.
And then somehow in the next five minutes, I jiggled the car to life and my Passion Pit CD album came over the speakers. Relief. And success.
In 10 minutes, I struggled happily backing into my garage.
According to the GPS, it said that I would arrive back in my place at 7:20 pm. I had an appointment at 7:30 pm and certainly did not want to embarrass myself with my nonexistent parking skills.
So I pushed the gas pedal.
Slowly the GPS said that I would arrive at 7:19 PM. Then about 20 miles later, it said 7:18 PM.
It’s like amazing! Because before, I would always have to say..a certain time. No earlier ever.
I always wondered though when airplanes are delayed…and they say that they’re trying to make up the time…are they really taking shortcuts and going faster?
Before having a car, usually I was in these TWO situations:
Catching a train (ideally the bullet)
Getting a ride from someone
Actually that is all, especially from Palo Alto. (In SF, there were additional means and less pressure for transit.)
There was a time pressure. I had to leave otherwise, I wouldn’t catch the train. Or that I was making someone wait for me unexpectedly.
With car, I could…magically leave whenever I wanted. Which in some ways is a dangerous thing. But at least after work, I have no obligation to leave except to myself.
Just like when I used to work in the city, the potential after work is boundless. Nothing constrains me…because suddenly the world is much more open to me.
As many might know now, I now have a car. After not having a car since high school (that’s 10 years fyi), I have a single car garage in my building and will have it until my roommate buys a new car.
What’s amazing is that now…I can have fresh meals! Before, I would drag my sorry self the weekend before or what ever day I had 2 hours free to a supermarket (or I luckily made it back before 7 pm to the corner store)…then buy things for the week. As any city person knows, every evening can change. A coworker invites you out, but your chicken is defrosted…well too bad! Or a friend suddenly drops in town and says “omg we haven’t seen each other forever”…well I guess there goes to the spinach.
So today I drove to my favorite marketâ€”Manila Oriental Market aka M.O.M. which is located in that god forsaken place (sorry Tinna) of an-area-that-is-south-of-Mission. There were a few times that I would take the 49 muni bus there, but like all muni buses, it was full of annoyingly smelly people and people who gave you stares. I don’t mind usually, but it’s the kind of thing…that when you get home, you realize that your fellow muni passengers really sucked the life out of you and you just don’t want to cook anymore.
As I walked in today, I thought…well I feel like making roast chicken tonight. So I got chicken and picked up a few more essential items. And automatically, I thought about my meals in the next few days. I had some stuff for the Japanese rice bowl that is great with fish. But wait a minute…I didn’t have to even buy fish today! I was so awestruck! I could buy fish on Thursday, Friday…or even on the day that I planned to make the dish! The fish would be FRESH!
It was a revelation.
Next up: classes on the other side of city that I could actually get to without an hourlong bus ride. But what!