Chaos Attraction

Zipcar, Round Three

2011-12-19, 8:22 p.m.

Zipcar week 3 of driving practice was tonight.

Okay, so Round Three's Mission was to rent the car for two hours (and not add on more time because I was being late, also so I could catch the bus home), drive to Woodland's Michael's store at night, go buy yarn on sale + new needles + some buttons for the hat I am making, go back home. And have this go successfully, dammit.

Technically speaking, it was successful. I found the Michael's in about 20 minutes of driving. Didn't find exactly the kind of yarn I wanted, but I found suitable on sale stuff and the needles and the buttons, used up my partially used Michael's gift cards, drove home, didn't die, didn't hit anybody. Though I did brush against the other Zipcar a couple of times while trying to park it on a curve for about 10 minutes. You can't see any damage though, so I guess they're both all right.

So why did I come home and cry for most of the last hour anyway?

Well, I got there a little early to figure out stuff in the car like the headlights, pulled out my phone to turn it on, and...okay, despite my phone being off 80% of the fucking time because I have no cell reception at my work, and the part where I am pretty goddamned sure I turned off the phone reception last night and did not turn it on again this morning, somehow TODAY the damn reception has been on all day and the battery is near dead. So much for wanting to try GPS at night (can't read off the Mapquest paper in the dark on the highway), and if I run into trouble, get lost, the car dies, I'm gonna be late, etc., I am shit out of luck. (Yes, I asked for a car charger for Christmas.) I swear to god, when I saw that the phone was gonna be useless, it was one of those moments where God is probably thinking, "For an EXTRA challenge tonight..NO PHONE FOR YOU!"

I got there pretty much without incident in the dusk. I had written out the Mapquest instructions into my iPod touch (yes, I do iPod and Android, exactly for reasons such as the battery issue. I do all of my practical organize-y, reading, games, music, etc. -stuff on the iPod and leave calls, Internet, and GPS to the phone) so I could read in the dark if I had to. But dear god, I don't know how the hell you people all text on the freeway because I was having an iffy enough time swiping the thing on to speed-read check my directions. Got slightly turned around due to that, but managed to get going on the right way without incident.

Inside Michael's, I felt like I was in this weird limbo period. I was wandering around discombobulated. Like I was temporarily in a safeish place in between a river full of sharks or something. I was very spaced out and having a hard time figuring out what I was doing/looking for, in a way. I mean, I went right to the section I wanted and found buttons and needles, but I kept wandering around looking at yarn and thinking, "Uh, they don't have what I wanted, uh...." a lot. Eventually decided to leave by 6 so I had extra time to get home.

Then I proceeded to leave the lights on in the car while I was in Michael's. Oh, so THAT'S why the car is beeping at me when I didn't have the keys in the ignition, I guess? Then the joystick stalled on me while I was trying to un-park and I got honked at. Then I nearly ended up hitting the freeway to go north when I was trying to get out of that shopping center, BUT I got it turned around, flipped a successful U-turn and got back on the right roads. Then eventually hit the freeway and was all, "Huh, why is it so dark? Oh, fuck, how do I turn on the lights?" (In this car they are on a random dial on the far left corner of the car, NICE AND INTUITIVE LIKE THAT when I can't see what setting the lights are on so well. I think I had the high beams on, but oh well, so did everyone else as far as I could tell.

Then I got the bright idea to take another turnoff direction onto campus where I got the car, rather than take the turnoff that I had driven down before. I know where these things go, right? Uh, not so much. I'm wandering around lost in the dark thinking, "Well, I kinda recognize those campus buildings, if I just keep heading in that direction, I'll find something..." and another car started honking and it was obviously directed AT ME but fuck if I could figure out why... Oh, guess why.

I was driving on the left side of the road. Didn't even notice for a second that I was on the right side of the LEFT SIDE. Oh dear fucking god, I'm that much of an idiot.

Finally corrected for that, got back to the parking spot, took 10 minutes to park the car..and then spent most of the rest of my remaining car time reading the actual car manual, which was in the glove compartment today when it hadn't been yesterday. Apparently there is also a switch that will operate the lights without my having to use the damn dial thingie. I found out how to adjust the mirrors and how to work the cruise control. I got the iPod cord to work. And I eventually got out of the car, headed for the bus stop, and managed to not cry until I got home.

What with my driving issues and all, I usually try to be fairly lax with myself on standards of driving. Okay, so once in a while I drove over a curb or didn't stop the smoothest or accidentally drove through a red light last Monday and didn't notice because I was lost and trying to turn. Shit happens, at least you didn't die or hit anybody or damage the car, calm down, Jennifer. (This is why I don't do well with Mom in the car, because she can't let any tiny part of any of it go and will screech her head off about WHIPLASH. Good lord, woman, a 90% smooth stop is the least of my fucking worries while driving.) But...this amount of issues, especially the left side driving, is too huge for me to just go "eh, you're still learning, chill" about right now.

Seriously, dear god, HOW AM I GOING TO MOVE IN EIGHT MONTHS?! I am clearly not ready, I am still a newbie. How come it seems like driving goes so fucking easily for everyone else? (I know the answer to this one: they got taught by relatively sane people how to drive in the country starting when they were 8 years old. Damn my parents for being horrendous instructors at anything in life so I'm so fucking BEHIND at this!) How the hell can I move in eight months when my options leasewise in this town are "move in September, period?" No month-by month options to stall for a few months until I'm ready, it's either 8 months or 20 months (or worse). Let's face it, at the rate I am going, 20 months might be better. If I drive like this in late December when it's clear and dry and not a lot of cars around the area at this time of year... again, I know I'm a newbie and need practice and all, but... This moving plan may be too far out of hand. My shrink is all like "okay, fine, after you get a car you can move to Dixon or somewhere if you can't get a lease where you live late or find month-to-month elsewhere," but I worry about having moving fatigue and not wanting to do it again if i do it once when it's not towards my goal.

Oh, fuck if I know. You know, I've read a lot of quotes about how if you just DECIDE that suddenly the heavens will all line up and all these people will come along to help you make your goal, but...I don't see that happening so far and I have my doubts that will in the next 8 months. I have to say that while I have been praying like hell while driving, I have felt total absence of God/dess. I'm not an atheist or agnostic because I've had enough weird stuff happen to me that I am sure there's a big overall consciousness of something with a game plan going on up there/around us/in another dimension overlapping ours, something like that. I have had weird stuff happen to me starting in 2008 about this move. Naturally I thought it sounded insane/like crap/not a good idea/I hate cities/I didn't even drive then at the time, but I've had enough synchronicity-ish stuff happen to me to think I should just go for it and find out why and what The Powers That Be want me down there to do. (Especially since I don't really have performing talent, so I don't think it's a showbiz career.) But right now I am not feeling that reassurance while behind the wheel, doing dumb things.

Then again, maybe the part where I haven't been hit by a car when I should have been (probably today even if not the other two days) is God looking out for me. Hard to tell. I just feel empty and dumb right now even though I technically succeeded at what I had set out to do. There's nothing quite like driving ALONE (as opposed to having a car nanny there to make me feel good) to remind me of just how fucking far I have to go. And that's why I cry when I get home.

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