Sunday, April 17, 2011

Driving me mad

My idea of enjoying nature is driving down the Pacific Coast Highway on a glorious spring day.  Or visiting the local garden nursery with all the new tomato seedlings sprouting.  Driving up the Silverado Trail where the strawberry stands have opened is always a treat.  Seeing the hydrangeas in bloom and ready to purchase out in front of Whole Foods gets me excited.  While driving along Rutherford Road where one of the wineries competes with Holland by displaying a rainbow of tulips as their ground cover is nothing short of spectacular.  Some might say sad, but true, most of my escapades into nature are with me safely behind the wheel of my beloved BMW.

I would have to rank driving on the top of my "things to do for fun" list.  I absolutely love being in the car.  I have noted before that there are exceptions to this.  Driving with a car full of people, driving a U-Haul truck, driving without music or if in the dead of summer, without air conditioning, and getting stuck in bay area traffic can be a real buzz kill.  But other than that, to me the car represents freedom-  as obviously it does for so many other Americans.  No wonder the car pool line has a meager few cars zipping by the standstill lines of solo drivers.

For me it is the one place I can be completely alone.  Free of all obligations and time away from what someone else feels I probably really "should" be doing. I don't have to answer the phone, my door, to anyone, unless I get pulled over by the CHP which happens every now and then.  But that usually only lasts for a few cordial minutes, and then I'm back out merging into traffic.

I do have other activities that I enjoy, such as reading a book, baking the occasional cake, working on an art piece, writing a blog - but I get restless being inside. I get claustrophobic - even in my own house.  Sometimes I get all worked up if I start thinking about the fact that I am contained inside 4 major walls.  I can even drive my own self crazy if I start thinking about how I am contained inside my own body, behind my own face!  I can't stand seeing anything in a cage, an enclosure.  I feel sorry for little hamsters, kills me to see a chicken or a rabbit, and moving on up to the larger creatures on earth, it gets even harder to take.  I believe it stems from a past life experience. I have been told by not one, but two, psychics that I was a prisoner at one time in a past life.  Seems like I am still trying to stage the perfect escape.

So because of this past life karma, I am now destined to feel anxious, restless, and sometimes almost frantic to get out and get away .  The exact opposite of the agoraphobic - I have to leave the house.  And drive.  So with the current price of gas it has become an expensive joy ride.  While others have their expensive addictions or hobbies, like heroin, skiing, alcohol, golfing, gambling, shopping, mine is an addiction to fuel - for my car, for my sanity. 

One of the benefits of living in the Napa Valley is that we can drive through some gorgeous country - through the vineyards, over to Marin and Mt. Tamalpais, through Sausalito and over the magnificent and always impressive Golden Gate Bridge.  There is nothing like driving on Hwy 101, past Sausalito, going through the Waldo Tunnel and seeing the Golden Gate emerge. Breathtaking.  My equivalent of skydiving. 

Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County
Silverado Trail

The Golden Gate Bridge through the Waldo Tunnel

I am not ready to give it up.  They say before you can give up an addiction you must admit you have a problem.  I don't see a problem yet - maybe when gas reaches 6 or 7 dollars a gallon I'll have to rethink my spending.  And I don't want a lecture on what I am doing to the environment, I know, I know.  I give where I can give, recycling, using cloth grocery bags, but don't ask me to give up the car - I can't give up the car.

Let's see, I could give up the daily latte, that will buy me 1/2 gallon, give up some items at Target (did I really need to buy that root touch up? Going gray could be a good thing. That will give me another gallon).  Somethings gotta give.  As important as the air I breathe, is the ability to drive, to see things I might never see, to get my daily fix of freedom and that wondrous feeling of being alive.  With my music blasting, my cell phone off, and a full tank, I am one happy camper.

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