highway to the danger zone

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I have a long standing history of restless periods in which I get a little dangerous – mainly to my pocketbook. In the past these periods have led me to take actions varying from painting walls to redecorating rooms; throwing parties to throwing a bag in the car and crossing state lines; dumping boys to divorcing men. They strike often, though when they do I can usually cure things with a simple trip to the salon. A slight color change with highlights can cure most cases; in more severe times a drastic change is required.

I’ve felt a major restless spell coming on for a while… I bought a new bed and bought myself a few weeks. I knew F-Train’s visit would help some, and it did. A busy schedule kept me from getting to my old stand-by cure all but I finally found the time last Friday. When I was asked by the talented stylist at Urban Betty what color I wanted I told her exactly what was suggested to me by another Betty – “that deep dark brown that’s almost black” and threw in some red highlights for good measure. I love it; it’s gotten me tons of compliments. (I’ll show you a picture just as soon as I can find someone to take a picture for me.)

Drastic color change wasn’t going to do the trick this time though. As my patient friend Absinthe will tell you, I’d been going back and forth on the possibility of a California trip at some point this year. I have a birthday next week + I have a best friend willing to fly me out + I have cash saved for a vacation + I have friends willing to host = April gets to escape for a while (or at least escape as far as T-Mobile will let her). I’m very much looking forward to seeing some of my favorite folks and making a trip I’ve been trying to make for over a year now.

If history serves, this trip should cure my restless period then, right? Well… there’s just one thing. In the last major restless phase I dyed my hair a bright red with blond highlights, drove myself to Colorado where I sat on my best friend’s back porch for a week staring at Pike’s Peak thinking, and then I drove home, walked straight into my living room and told my husband that no, really, this time it was over. Which might explain what happened when I went to get my oil changed today.

It was innocent, I swear. Mostly. I mean, I drive by the dealership every day on my way to work, and they put all the bright shiny new cars right up front and good God I love me some bright shiny. I can’t help but look. But I’ve had no need to step foot on a dealership lot for years, so that’s all it’s been – just looking. Until two weeks ago, when friend and coworker Lucy needed to get the oil changed on her Ford Fusion. I picked her up from the dealership when she dropped her car off there and she joked about how every time she was there it was like she walked out with a new car – her brother used to work there, she knows all the sales guys, she’s bought several cars there, etc. Oh how we laugh as the little seed is planted!

Having been putting off my own need for an oil change in my Mustang for some time now, I get clearance to take advantage of a slow Friday and drop my car off at the service department for it’s own oil change. I get Lucy to follow me there so I have a ride back and as we leave the office I mention that perhaps we might swing by the new cars and take a peek in one or two. I head for the service entrance, she the sales office, and by the time I meet her there I’ve been assigned a point manager (whatever the hell that is) and two salesman. There is talk of test drives, which I turn down, informing the nice gentleman that I really don’t have time for it as well, you see, I’m actually supposed to be working right now…

So off we go to see the pretty cars. Naturally I ask for Mustangs, though I do stop and look at an Escape briefly. They are very nice but Lucy and I are very unimpressed. A Mustang GT is unlocked for us and the key is given to me. I open the door, sit in the leather seat, turn the ignition, hear the engine and –

OH. MY. GOD. Tears well. [And I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit it.]

The sheer joy is clearly evident on my face because the salesman has already unlocked the passenger side door and Lucy has already made her way over to it by the time I say “OK I want to drive it.” The test drive is a formality really. I’ve been driving one for 12 years now, I’m pretty well sold on the brand at this point and have booked a convertible Mustang for my vacation next week. It’s also not a real drive for me, as the salesman is crammed in the back seat and if I’m not comfortable with you, I’m not going to drive my best. [Meaning, you’ll know when I really count you as a close friend when you ride in a car with me and I’m speedy, yell at other slow-ass stupid drivers [everyone], and you hear me say “I hate people”.] Lucy, unaware of this little April quirk, finally prodded me into opening it up on a curvy road, only to then panic when the curves got really steep out of concern for baby*. When we reached the half-way point in the test drive I turned it over to Lucy, which gave me time to locate the important things like aux input jack (-10 salesman points for not knowing where the hell it was) and also allowed someone to floor the engine, as Lucy has no such weird ass stranger-in-the-car quirk. It also gives me time to text message Roomie and inform him I am currently in a 2008 Mustang GT; as we had just spoken the night before about how the new cars were beginning to call to me.

Despite our semi-serious jokes about just continuing on down 290 to Houston with the car and the salesman in it, we returned back to the dealership and made plans to follow up once I returned from California. I believe I mentioned this before; it’s an absolutely beautiful car and I am all sorts of in love with it. Roomie was in Dallas today, he called once he got my text to check and see if I had purchased a car without him. Despite how much I love the idea of getting a new one, he’s aware of how much I would really hate to get rid of my current one.

“Sweetie, I’ve had that car 12 years. That’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had. And I’ve been married!”
“I know baby. But you loved the car.”

Not having a car payment is a very nice feature. I mentioned to the salesman that my student loan payments were going to start soon; that I was going to have to figure out what those were going to look like before I could really determine if I could take on a car payment too. And of course, waiting for me when I got home today were three letters, each representing one loan for one year of school. Such impeccable timing they have!

So we’ll see. But in the trifecta of events that appears to cure my restlessness, this is the closest approximation I’ve got, and just like the one it’s replicating, is something I’ve been considering for a quite a while now. I’ve just got to bring myself to pull the trigger.

*Lucy is pregnant. More on this later.