I wanted a station wagon even before I got knocked up. Mostly because I thought they were cool and because I had dogs and wanted to appear more grown-up. I had gone through my Cabriolet phase and my Jetta phase and was feeling old and retired at 23, opting for the Passat wagon with the V6. No more bikini-clad cruising to the beach with the top down, no more illegally tinted windows I had to roll down every time a cop passed. I wanted the seafoam green family wagon, even before I knew I was settling down. Call it "telling the story until it comes true". Call it presumption. Call it another predetermined chapter of my life.
In my younger, wilder days I liked to drive fast. I was the person in the carpool lane honking when people drove slower than 85. I was always in a hurry and like a good LA driver I was vocal, horn-happy and crazy behind the wheel. Anyone who has done the San Diego to LA drive (a la the 405 freeway) at 2am knows that its prime racing time for Acura Integra/ suped-Civics and other spoiler-sporting UCI alum. It seemed that every night I made the drive someone in a fluorescent rimmed, lowered, something-or-other with twin exhaust tips was trying to step to this. Not that my Jetta was race-esque. It was a Jetta with 14'' rims and a spoiler that came stock on the car but for some reason dudes would cruise up beside me, cut me off, flash their hazards and try to race me. Dipshits. I liked to drive fast but I wasn't an idiot. I had learned my lesson at 19 with five speeding violations and very unhappy parents (who were paying my insurance at the time. Thanks, guys.)
For years I flashed my brights, tossed cigarettes at their windshields, rolled my eyes and turned up my music as they drove away, showing off their stupidity. It always bugged the shit out of me and didn't stop until recently. Like, say, two years ago when I traded the Silver Bullet in for the Green Grocery-Goblin. What? I'm not the only one who names my car.
Besides the fact that the GGC'S GGG was a faster car with a bigger engine, the Wagon just wasn't race-friendly and though I made the SD/LA trip dozens of times in the Goblin, no one even attempted to race me. Maybe because they could see me through the windows and pigtails aren't exactly intimidating. Maybe it was the BABY 1ST PUTS SAFETY FIRST sunblocker on the rear windows. Maybe it was the wagon itself. Anyway, I kind of missed being challenged to race.
I was explaining this to a friend on the phone one night while making the drive, Archer sleeping soundly in the backseat.
"No one tries to race me on the road anymore."
"Helllllo. You drive a station wagon."
"Hellllooooooo. I drive a V6 station wagon."
Just then, the two clouds in the sky parted and a Honda Accord with racing lights around the license plate cut me off.
"Dude, you won't believe this. Someone is seriously trying to race me right now."
I switched lanes and drove up beside the car. The kid lifted his chin and puffed out his chest. I lowered my glasses.
"Duh, idiot. I have a kid in the back and I'm driving a green station wagon. Are you out of your mind?"
I hung up with my friend and had an epiphany, the kind of epiphany one so often has when in (less than) two years their life goes from single, irresponsible twenty-something who regularly speeds on the freeway to married parent driving a station wagon barely doing 75mph in the third lane. Shit has changed and I reaIized whist pawing at my brain cloud that I was wrong. Just because I drive a station wagon does mean you can't race me on the freeway. Just because I have a child does mean you can't cat-call my ass when I'm walking my stroller down the street. Just because I wear a wedding ring does mean you can't flirt with me at the bar. I will not deny that I find myself secretly refreshed by this attention. (Duh!) A girl's gottta know she still gots it. I am also more and more annoyed by people that cannot see that I have changed, friends and strangers.
Having a child has made me grow-up very fast and I can't say there are moments when I feel I must retain my youth, parade around in ankle boots and designer duds, make kissy faces in my rear-view mirrors and I do... only now the boots and makeup are to pediatrician appointments and family-oriented gatherings and the kissy faces are for my baby on board.
And I started thinking about the young/independent/modern woman and the classifications/roles I have played in my young adult/adult life. First as a teenager, experimental, fearless, cruising the beach with my girlfriends and boyfriends and Operation Ivy CDs. Then as a college-dropout, all-nighter partygirl gone wild, seemingly tough in the city that for a minute I thought I owned (and we all know that wasn't the case).I don't know how I would classify myself today, what role I play to the exterior. Mom? Wife? Crazy multitasking biotch?
I do know that at twenty-four I don't feel like I am missing out on anything. Really. This is my life and the decisions I have made have brought me here, full speed. Pedal to the metal. I have lived quite fast and now that I have slowed down I feel very comfortable with who I am and where I'm going, pressing cruise control at 73 mph in my Green Grocery Goblin Momzmobile, no need for a map.