Life in the Fast Lane

5 Dec

Cable Car

Sniff. Sniff. Smell that? That sweet aroma floating into your nostrils is the incomparable scent of freedom, independence, liberty and all things American: the new car smell. I became nearly drunk off the swigs of new faux leather emanating in the Texas heat as I drove off the Volkswagen lot a month ago.

After two years as the reigning queen of Dallas public transit, I eagerly traded my tiara for car keys. I know, I know. It’s not that big of deal to most people. But anyone who knows me, who has seen me standing on the bus stop while the sun was yet asleep to be at work by eight, or seen me running eyes pierced and lip clenched to make the morning train should understand my sense of triumph. My church members and family members certainly did. As I walked from the sanctuary across the gravel parking lot and let my Jetta chirp, heads swiveled and feet ran to check out the new ride. Congratulations fell like confetti . I felt like I had given birth to a new baby boy. 
In a sense, I had. This summer, when I had hit rock bottom, I looked back over my life post-graduation and cried. I mean boo-hoooed. I had dreamt of becoming a famous reporter and failed miserably. I worked my butt off for a paper that couldn’t afford to pay me a living wage. I lived off my words. And there were millions of them. I have a box in my room filled with each and every article I’ve ever written. My laptop houses even more. Yet I had nothing to show for them. I thought back to the words of a local artist.
“This is just a luxury. You can’t eat it, you can’t wear it. You can’t do nothing but take this and hang it on the wall. So you got to do your very best, so a person will like it and buy it.”


These words of wisdom that aptly applied to my brief career in journalism. 
You can’t live off of words. But you can pawn them. While I figure exactly how to do that for profit, I couldn’t afford to wait to become a martyr or starving artist. I had to become successful. Quick. Thus began my path to corporate America: The shadowy place I avoided at all costs before now offered me my final hope. Over 100 applications and countless interviews later, I was reborn.
Today, while rolling through a school zone (grrrr) I saw one of my bus buddies toting a rolling luggage case half his size up a hill. My heart wept. That was me a couple of months ago. I thought back to the time he treated me to dinner and how he was the first person to kickstart my painting sales. I turned around, good karma I told myself, to offer him a lift.
He didn’t recognize me at first. But when he did, he became simply thrilled.

“But God. . .” he declared.
I nodded my head and smiled.
Part of me still longs the liberty of words, the freedom of paint and the independence of being my own boss. In time, I remind myself.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Every now and then, I hear the familiar roar of a passing bus or trademark whinny of the brakes as it stops. I turn and gaze at it like an old lover: With eyes that say both happy to see you, but I don’t miss you.

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4 Responses to “Life in the Fast Lane”

  1. Joe Pineda December 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Change is always important, and something we have to strive for every day of our lives. We can’t stagnate and adhere to an image of ourselves. What do we gain from it? Who are we pleasing, other than our scared selves? Therefore, all of that’s just ego-stroking, and all of us can do without it.

    Like

    • lcooksmarketer1 December 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

      Agreed. I had to humble myself and realize that placing myself in a box wasn’t helping anyone,myself included. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. Mao's Army December 11, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Car is bad for the environment!

    Like

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