Monday, March 15, 2010

On getting around

After 3 years of what can only be known as freeway hell in Los Angeles, not to mention clocking 3000+ miles driving West -> East this summer, I never thought I'd miss driving while in Scotland.

Well, I miss driving, in my '91 Toyota Camry with its velour seats that are lovely in December and too hot in July, cup holder stationed with iced coffee and automatic windows that often break. I miss the glove box that holds a satisfying load of junk in a very small place. Maps, mascara, a hairbrush, kleenex, a hammer, no nails, CDs, measuring tape, mapquest print-outs from weekend trips to northern beaches. Trunk full of camping supplies and firewood from those weekend trips to northern beaches. Good luck sea shell and petrified wood charms on the dashboard - the ones that must work because I've never been in a serious accident. I miss the Thomas Guide in the back seat. That is, the 400 page tomb with detailed maps of every street and neighborhood in the Greater Los Angeles area (yes, it is that huge).

Me, Dad, car, parking spot, old apartment on Lafayette Park Place

In Los Angeles, you become one with your car, in a way that is at once sad and comforting. You are often alone in your car, because it is unlikely that your friends will live close enough to carpool anywhere. So, it becomes a second home, a safe haven. The one place you actually have some time to think. The city is so spread out that you bring everything with you in your car just in case you have to stay the night.

I miss washing and vacuuming at the $1 Car Wash. Foam foam foam, scrub scrub scrub, hose hose hose, hoover hoover hoover, and fast as you can because you don't want to pay another $1. Car Washes are on every corner, because, of course, in LA, you are what you drive. I'm not even kidding.

I severly miss American radio. NPR, oh, NPR. I am an obsessive car radio listener. Constantly scanning for that great song or fascinating news item. I miss Michelle Norris and Amy Goodman and Democracy Now and All Things Considered and Car Talk or Morning Becomes Eclectic. And Flo Rida and Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears and Jamie Foxx. Anyway, car radio. I miss the open sun roof, and while we're at it, the open road.

I miss developing the terrible habit of talking on the phone while driving. It doesn't work on public transport. First, because it sucks when other people do it. Second, because I get self conscious and stop listening to the person on the other end.

This wasn't meant to be a nostalgic post, but it sort of turned into one. Guess it comes with the territory of living in another country and uprooting your routines. To end on an up note, it's a total pleasure to live somewhere where walking is a reasonable, practical option. And parts of my morning walk are downright incredible!

Up the stairs to Royal Mile

Victoria Street


Grassmarket

And one thing I am in no way nostalgic about is $50 fill ups every week with a gas tank running empty all the time. Here in Edinburgh, it feels great to rely on the "clean" energy of my own 2 feet.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsey, this post is especially funny for me (not in a ha-ha way) because I feel the opposite nostalgia almost every single day...

    And cars in 1991 had sunroofs??!! Wowzers.

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