Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tommy Used to Work on the Docks

I got him in 2001. The man at the dealership in Skokie was on his second day on the job. He was really annoying and kept trying to hug me and saying that he had to call his mom because he'd made his first sale. I wondered if I was making a bad decision...

I have been trying to remember the big moments or the memorable things that I've been through with this car, but to be honest, not too may are coming to mind. There was nothing monumental. There was nothing huge. But I'm still sad that Tommy left me today.

Tommy is the name of my car. He definitely got his name by default. First off, I say "he" because the symbol for Volvo is the male symbol: the circle with the arrow pointing diagonally upwards. Also, that's the sign of the planet Mars, which supposedly is a male planet. Right? I don't know. Anyhow, when my sister bought her car, she named it Gina. Gina the Jetta. And as some of you may know, there is a very famous song about Tommy and Gina called "Living on a Prayer."

Tommy used to work on the docks - union's been on strike, he's down on his luck - it's tough. So tough
Gina works the diner all day - working for her man, she brings home her pay for love. Ooh, for love.

And such and such. A match made in heaven. Hence, my car being named Tommy. It just worked out.

Tommy took myself and Johnny and Tucky down to see the Derby five years ago. We left at 12:30 am and drove through the night with Harvey the Dog in the way back and Johnny the Drunk in the regular backseat. Neither of them drove a single mile. But Tommy got us there and back in about 36 hours.

There was the morning my sister and I realized we could no longer drink gin. Tommy drove me to work the next morning. I believe I was wearing smelly brown corduroys and a torn tshirt that was too tight on me. I pulled over on a side street off of Regent, opened the driver's side door, and barfed onto the street. One of the classier moments Tommy and I shared.

Tommy had to be towed out of that stupid driveway near Mickey's once. Remember that?

When I worked at that awful school near Chicago, where I spent all day restraining kids and being sworn at and having things thrown at me and seeing not a bit of education happening in the classroom, I'd come to Tommy every evening, get inside, and take a deep, shaky breath. And there was that one awful day that E., the one that I'd worked on/with for months and months, the one they said could only connect with me, the one who played his cello for me, pushed me up against a wall and really hurt me. I could barely hold it together for the rest of the school day, and finally after I got in the car, I knew I had to quit. I sat and cried for probably twenty minutes, miserable and guilty and conflicted. I probably could have sat in there for hours.

I got my heart broken for the first and only time while sitting in the driver's seat of Tommy, my hands tight around the steering wheel and tears running down my face. My heart got broken in Tommy because I refused to let it happen in the Denny's we'd been sitting in previously. Sorry, but I just couldn't let that be a part of my life. I knew it was about to happen - he's a wonderful, beautiful man, but at the time I wanted to murder him. I threw money on the table, stormed out, and headed straight to Tommy. It wasn't until I was inside the car that everything changed from anger to sadness to reality and I totally broke. And he got in the car with me and held my hand and all I was full of was hate and love that seemed like it would last forever.

I would always test out mix tapes and mix cds in Tommy to make sure the flow was just right. He has carried me over 120,000 miles throughout the country. I've seen a thousand sunsets and maybe five sunrises with Tommy. I listened to DeVotchKa for the first time ever inside Tommy. He took me to see DeVotchKa twice, and Tina and Alice Cooper and STYX and Cheap Trick and a billion other bands. He took me through a lot of drive thrus at bar time too. Tommy was quiet inside when I wanted him to be. Sometimes I wouldn't even put on music. He was where I could pull myself together.

I breathed easier than I usually do in Tommy.

But this glittery blue thing is looking pretty good to me, what with my Saturn returning and everything...


Sara Ashes said...

I'm trying to remember if Tommy made it to Georgia? Did you have him for Spring Break 2001? At least Tommy and Gina got to chill together during my sabbatical when I was in Chicago for that month.

Congratulations on Saturn Returns! xoxox

Reem Tara said...

Tommy never did...the last Volvo did. Remember what we called him? It was weird...from the movie Grease. Um...we called it The Sin Wagon. God, embarrassed...

Tara said...

Tommy also drove to Mcdonalds on Wednesday mornings between staff meetings and when you started work to bring us breakfast! Tommy also got a flat tire on our way to the casino! Tommy also drove you, me and Jer to Milwaukee to see a rained out little league game where I was scared to talk to parents . . . Tommy also drove us to many a dates for sandwiches and chips. Also, remember that one time when you picked me up from my parents house and we like went to a garage sale? And you were pretty sure my parents thought either we were dating or you were my drug dealer? Tommy was there.

Bea said...

Oh!!! I just left you this nice, long, sentimental yet funny comment and I tried posting it with open ID and then it wiped out my comment... GONE. :( It really was great. Here were some of the points as I remember them.... It makes sense that we would both write in blogs considering how much we travel on the same wave length already (what with our common distaste for acquatic foods and all) and now that I've actually met you I feel like I can be less of a creep when I read it here (although it is kind of flattering when someone you don't know reads your blog, isn't it?) I also said a few things about Car Love, which I can relate to as I have a great fondness for my car who carried me to both coasts and sat with me through various traumas (if my car had hands, it probably wwould have held mine).

Gwen often spoke of your blog and how funny it is... well, when is Gwen ever wrong? :)