My car is a thirteen year old teal Honda Civic with scratches and dents and a perpetually fucked up sound system. I’ve had it since I turned sixteen; almost immediately after getting it I (illegally) drove some friends to a birthday dinner at a CPK six blocks from our high school and made a left turn into someone’s brand new BMW. A couple of years later I was driving down Beverly in it and got rear ended by Rachel Leigh Cook.
My parents’ house sat at the apex of a triangle formed by my high school and my high school friends’ houses, which meant that I was almost always on my way somewhere. I memorized the prices at all of the cheap gas stations along my regular routes; I still note them when I pass by, when I’m home. I listened to the same four cds over and over and over again; every time I get on the 10 west the opening to I Never starts playing in my head, Jenny’s country twang that M & C & I were always imitating, exaggerating. (“I’m only a woman of flesh and bone / and I’ve wept too much / we all do / I thought I might die alone.”) Then coming home, getting on the 10 east at National (A’s house, Turn on the Bright Lights, almost always the morning after something) or Overland (E’s house, Desperate Youths, Bloodthirsty Babes, after we’d sat in his backyard talking until late).
Now my car lives with me in Connecticut; it has CT plates on it, which feels like an abject betrayal, and so I keep the California ones in the backseat. It keeps sort of stuttering on me; I’ve spent more money on maintenance than I really want to add up. But you know: three cross-country moves in seven years, two dorm rooms, two apartments in the same span. It was the first space that was just mine; it’s the only space that’s been mine, all this time. Of course I think of it like it’s home.