Thursday, November 13, 2008


A few weeks ago my odometer rolled past the landmark of one hundred thousand miles. In fact, I didn't notice it until about fifty miles past the magic number. And while this huge number marks a lot of wear and tear on my poor car it also chronicles about 5 years of my life. Thankfully it's a Toyota so I'm convinced it will work until I drive it off of a cliff "Thelma and Louise style".

I remember buying my car which was, of course, my first grown up purchase. Before this, I had driven, wait for it, a Dodge Caravan and Chevrolet Caprice in high school (my coolness overwhelms you, I know) and then a Plymouth something-or-other and a Ford Taurus. Wow, I drove old lady cars. I will say that I have some great memories from those cars though. You'd be surprised just how many people you can pack into a Caprice, it's astounding.

When I was able to purchase my own car I steered clear of the land barges and soccer mom vehicles. Instead I wanted something grown up and yet fun that would outlive me if possible. A car is so utilitarian on one hand and a status symbol on the other. We pour over miles per gallon (now more than then), maintenance requirements, cloth or leather seating, power locks vs. the ancient crank windows, and then moon roof, sun roof, no roof. Even the color is important, do you want to blend or stand out? In my case, my speed while driving makes me stand out so I went for a blendable color, white in case you were wondering. We think through leg room, head room, and trunk space for those dead bodies we might one day haul or groceries if you live a boring life. We contemplate how high up or low to the ground we will sit, I guess choosing if we want to actually squash people in smaller cars or maybe skirt through the undercarriage of a semi.

The one thing I didn't think about as I signed away five years of car payments was where my car would take me. Those 100,000 miles represented payments and gas tanks but more than that, they represented the places I would go (insert a Dr. Seuss reference here). From the everyday drive to work or the grocery store to road trips and family visits, my car has taken me all kinds of places.

I like numbers, they give a sense of measurement and history. With each mile tallied on my car comes the history of where I went and why. Trips to south Texas for holidays, birthdays, funerals, and family events all add to the big number. Those twice weekly trips to Dallas for bible study from which lifelong friendships grew. A long drive in my car on a Saturday afternoon when I wanted to think or not think and just listen to music with the windows down.

Memories, stories, and miles all represented in that six digit number right there on my dash. What if other things in our life kept a tally: shoes that marked the steps taken exploring New York City, phones that log the hours spent having a heart wrenching talk with a friend, a stomach that counted all those calories resulting from chocolate chip cookies, keyboards that keep track of the words written in a lifetime.

One hundred thousand miles and counting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's like Christmas

I just wrote an email to the group leader for my weekly Bible study in which I explained to her that I was going to sneak out early so I can watch election results. Yep, I'm a nerd.

Her reply included the party line by the large group leader about polls not closing until 9, and I already voted so I couldn't change anything, and yada, yada, yada. She then mentioned that she thought of me during that whole discussion and how I had skipped out early on the same Bible study years ago to catch the end of the State of the Union (did I mention I'm a nerd?) So I responded with my ever growing rebellious tone that I'm a freak when it comes to politics and governement and Election Day is like Christmas to me and I had no problem skipping out early on Bible study no less.

Seriously, it doesn't matter that my vote has been cast already or that polls won't close until 9pm CST, I want to watch it all happen! It's like opening Christmas presents, most of the fun is in unwrapping them and being surprised. I want to listen to the commentators talk about exit polls and put up precinct reports. I want to watch as the states turn from gray to blue or red. In fact, if I would have planned better I would have made my own electoral college counter with a big map of the US and a state cut-out in red and blue that I could then tap to my wall. I would tally the electoral college points and tally after each state was called.

This is my holiday people and I want to celebrate it my way.

So if you haven't, go out and cast your vote. Do it now, do it because you can, do it because someone actually gave their life so that you had the freedom to have your voice heard and counted. And then, when you're done, you can come and sit on my couch with me and watch the results come in.