I didn't realize, living in Norway without a car for 7 years, how much I had missed driving. But now that I am back in a car, I see, oh, I see, how I have missed it indeed.
I was in high school when Dad gave me my first car, my 1967 Corvair, a convertible with two carburetors and an automatic transmission that had two gears (first and everything else). I suddenly saw the freedom a car could give me, especially in a town like Houston. That car became my identity, my refuge. When I was angry, when I was sad, or when i was happy, I'd retreat to the car and go for a drive to think, to rage, to celebrate. It was my private space, my escape. I drove hard and I drove lustfully.
Those habits, those intrinsic built in motivations that I developed when I was 16, have not changed.
There is, for me, something sensual about driving. The Corvair wasn't terribly fast off the mark, being a rear engine vehicle and an automatic, but once you got it going, once it shifted clunkily out of that first gear and into the long huge 2nd gear, it just got faster and faster until that big old gas guzzling engine screamed and roared as I pushed it onwards. It was a temperamental bitch, but when it went, oh how it soared. I never found the top speed of that car, though damned if i didn't try.
My second car, another old convertible given to me by Dad, was a 1964 Renault Caravelle, a happy litte cast-iron rear-engined car with the cutest fins flaring out the back, that ran and ran and hummed along with the best of intentions, even if it didn't have the braw power of the Corvair. I remember Mom driving me and my brother around in it when we were very little. I will never forget that car, how it felt so solid and wobbly all at once, how the engine gave me its all, how the steering wheel would start to vibrate in my hands at exactly 54mph and stop vibrating at 60mph, how i learned how to drive a stick shift in it, when I had to get from Houston to Austin, and I had no other option but to learn on the fly. I remember that with the Renault I had a mechanic in Austin named Jonathan, who was a well renowned Citroen/Renault expert, and I talked about him like most women talked about their hairdressers, and i brought him cookies and treats whenever he had to fix something on the Renault. Something always went wrong with it, but Jonathan fixed it cheaply and thoroughly and I trusted him implicitly. (Apparently that little Caravelle, named Clarabelle, is still going, still on the road, somewhere in Seattle.)
And forward to now, having in the interim had the 1990 Honda Civic (4 wheels and 4 gears) and the 1997 Subaru Outback Sport, which I brought to Norway when we moved there and sold at a massive profit even though the car was 8 years old when I sold it. Each of my cars has had its own personality, I've loved each of them for their own strengths and weaknesses, rather like one does a lover. Now i have the WRX, which, for me, was the dream car, the car I always wanted. I don't know why it's the one I always wanted, when there are so many other sleeker, nastier, more elegant and faster rides, but for me, right now, the WRX is what makes me happy. I don't question it. To question my choice of car would be to question who I am, and right now, I just don't fucking care or have the energy to do that.
So tonight being in the maelstrom of emotion and angst that I have lately been going through, I found myself reverting back to my old teenaged, pre-Norway self. I needed to escape. So, I drove. I drove fast, and I drove hard, and I had the music loud (NIN Closer being an all time favorite) and I sang and cried and thought and shifted and sped and roared. Driving, for me, is therapeutic. It's sexy as fuck. It's me and the road and that shifter in my hand and my feet on the pedals, and it's the possibility of death, and it's nihilism, and it's fast reaction and quick decisions and it is life, my life, maybe your life, in my hands, entirely in my thrall, split seconds of excitement and daring and power.
It is me, totally and completely in control, utterly one with a fine tuned machine that can cause destruction or joy, can induce spine tingling, intense pleasure mixed with a sense of being God.
Maybe that's it. When I drive, I am God. I am testing God, I am saying fuck you, I can do anything I want, at that moment I literally have my life in my hands and I can do with it what I wish. Like the NIN song, it brings me Closer to God. That turns me on. Driving turns me on.