Waiting for God to Pimp My Ride
I went to College in Southern California. Without a car. I had a bike. I also learned the hard way that riding a bike in Southern California (when not bikini clad and on a boardwalk), is like playing Frogger with a target on your back. Luckily, I had friends with cars.
My roommate, Jessica, looked like Barbie; blonde hair, perfect body, flawless skin. The only thing missing was the pink convertible. She drove a purple Geo. All the boys on Campus loved her. One potential suitor even offered to change her oil. She gave him the keys. He (proudly) changed the oil, fixed the radio, and rotated the tires.
Her and I took it for a spin to enjoy the tune-up. One rev of the engine and the oil light turned on. “No big deal,” we agreed. The car lurched out of the parking lot, as the sky opened, releasing a brief sprinkle. Jessica turned on the windshield wipers and the radio started blaring. A twist of the radio knob sent the air conditioner into a deep freeze. One slide of the temperature dial finally got the windshield wipers swiping. At that point, we were barely a mile down the road and decided a U-turn was in order. The sharp turn of the steering wheel sent all four hub caps flying. We pulled over to pick them up, and the car stopped running all together.
We walked the mile back to campus in full hysterics.
Another roommate, Danielle, was 4’11” with a 5′ boyfriend who believed he was an assassin ninja for the United States Army (no joke). She owned a vintage Chevy Sedan with several “vintage” features. The engine flooded if you put too much pressure on the gas pedal, every 20 miles required a quart of oil, and the back door on the left side had to be held shut when your speed exceeded 28 mph.
One night Danielle and her boyfriend took me to a Concert in Los Angeles. On the way home, her boyfriend started to bite his nails and look nervously into the rearview mirror. She whispered from the front seat that we were being followed (obviously by someone who knew about his ninja status). Next thing I knew, we were flying 100 mph down I-5 towards San Diego; whipping through traffic, and looking for an off ramp that didn’t lead to the ghetto.
I was sitting on the left side of the car, holding the door closed, and praying that God would help me lose the crazies (and I wasn’t talking about the “people” following us.)
My friend, Carmen, owned an old VW Beetle. The brakes worked.
Sometimes. A fact she shared with me as she closed her eyes, flying through a red light and into eight lanes of rush-hour traffic.
My boyfriend, Brian, even had a car. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a sense of direction. Every date ended in a trip to the Dean’s office for breaking curfew. The whole “we got lost” excuse started to look a little suspicious. So I finally ended the relationship when he took me ice skating and we ended up in Mexico.
As clearly as I remember the horror of those automobiles, I remember my friends loved their cars. My nightmare was their dream car.
Now I own a Subaru. It’s three-years-old and grey, and it features a GPS. When I turn the key, I know it will start and all the doors close firmly. On the flip side, the interior is always muddy from my trail running adventures, the backseat is piled with legos and sports equipment from the kiddos, and the passenger seat is camouflaged with work-out gear and lesson plans.
I offered a friend a ride once. She took one look inside, and chose to walk.
I wasn’t offended. Her nightmare,was my office/babysitter/locker/dog crate. On wheels.
It is always scary to use another’s means to get where we are going, to allow our lives to be vulnerable to another’s driving. God asks us to do it every day. He tells us to follow Him, and warns that it will be a rough road. He requests that we acknowledge Him and allow Him to direct our steps, promising that we will go places and do things we never would have otherwise. He literally tells us to get out of the boat in the middle of the storm, and then wonders why we are afraid.
God pretty much tells us we are going to end up in a car going 100 mph, with no breaks, in a thunderstorm with windshield wipers that only work when the radio is on. We will surely be holding on for dear life, hoping the door does not fly open. And in the end, the adventure will always be better than playing Frogger on the California Freeway. It will even be better than living life in a string bikini, cruising the boardwalk. Only God can pimp my ride like that.