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.


Anonymous chirky said...

I would recommend NOT driving your car off a cliff, Thelma & Louise style.

Lucky for you, there aren't any such cliffs in the DFW area.

11/20/2008 9:04 AM  
Blogger Eddo said...

Five hundred, twenty five thousand, 600 calories, how do you measure, so much gluttony! In spoonfuls, and mouthfuls, and ounces and sips, in jarfuls and gallons and chips full of dip!

I liked the ending of this post KT, very thoughtful, and I agree with Jes, do NOT drive off a cliff, what if you didn't die? Ugh. And then, what if you were trapped and injured and a pack of hyenas came to feat on your while you were STILL ALIVE! I've read a lot of books and this stuff happens ALL THE TIME.

12/04/2008 1:56 PM  

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