Carless? “Thanks” Harvey


R.I.P. sweet Lily-car. I’ll miss you.

Lily was a good car. She got me around town. We took road trips together. She was the first car I bought all by myself. She was mine for 11 of her 13 years of life. She survived several floods. Not Hurricane Harvey. Harvey killed Lily.

I drove her to the store on Saturday during a lull in the hurricane, and I knew something was wrong. Lily was shimmying and flashing lights at me; nevertheless, I had hope that she would pull through. I began to have doubts; I watched the flood waters rise from the street, as gallons of water continuously gushed from the roof onto her hood. Water would still have to come up about six more inches for my house to be in danger, but oh, my sweet Lily! In true Texas fashion, I walked into the house and took a shot of bourbon- it’s not like I was driving anywhere!

After the skies cleared and the sun came out, I tried to start my car. I have never heard such an awful noise from a machine! Lily was not starting. By the time the insurance adjuster came, she had begun to mold. Even with the molding and the not starting, I am still having a hard time saying goodbye to my car- which is still in my driveway, by the way. I feel like I may need a funeral for her.

I am so lucky! Hurricane Harvey has devastated so many people I know. I really have lost so little, but still, I was not prepared for this at all. I have a few other hurricane issues which need to be resolved, but the car is an issue. I shopped for Lily for over six months. She was exactly the vehicle I wanted, and I accidentally got a really good deal. Right now, I have no idea what I want, and I probably can’t afford it, even with my insurance payout.

I know this sounds a little bit crazy, but I kind of want to be carless for a little while. If you know anything about Houston, that is not an easy proposition. We are a “car city.” Our public transportation is difficult unless you are going somewhere directly on a bus line. Bike lanes- you’re kidding, right? That is just extra space for our big ole’ trucks. Walking? We live in a swamp and our sidewalks- well, where there are sidewalks- are in disrepair.

I would be crazy to go carless for a while, right? But, people do it… they have to… and I am a little bit crazy…


Favorite Words

I am a lover of words. At times I find myself searching for the perfect word, or I must excuse myself when I am not positive that I am using a Dictionaryword correctly. At times words seem to dig into my brain and I use them again and again.

My word at work lately has been “apoplectic.” It means very angry or exited. It can also mean showing symptoms of a stroke. Today I explained to a young man that I felt apoplectic when he interrupted me as I was trying to answer another student’s question. He facetiously responded, “Yeah, sure, I know I know what that means.” At least the student he interrupted replied, “It means she is annoyed.” At the very least, someone understands context clues. After almost getting hit by another car this morning (someone needs to fix the lines at that intersection— same thing happened yesterday), a series of strange e-mails which confirmed that adults do not read directions any better than students, and a day spent with a lot of wheel spinning, and some wheel reinventing, I left work feeling kind of apoplectic. Sigh. Tomorrow is Friday.

On a more positive note, I have also been thinking about the word “adorable.” I am not talking about cute, cuddly, stuffed animal, baby kitten, adorable. I am talking about “worthy of being adored” (per Merriam-Webster). If anyone called me adorable in the cuddly sense, I would kindly ask them to reconsider. While there may be some truth to that, I want to be “lovingly admired.” I want someone to be devoted to me. I think that everyone deserves to be considered adorable in this sense. I do not want to be worshiped. In The Fellowship of the Rings, Galadriel says, “In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night!” I don’t think that I could take over a fantasy world, but If I was worshiped, I suspect I would become rather apoplectic. When all is right in my world, I am sure that I am quite adorable (in the admiration and devotion sense).

I am also reminded that I love the word “druthers.” Last year when a past group of “future spies” was reading the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird one of them asked what the word “druthers” meant. I began explaining that it was a word that came from a contraction of the phrase, “I would rather.” As I went through this process of explaining the word, I looked around at the “spies” and realized that they were staring at me with mouths agape, not because I was astounding them with my wit, but because they realized what a nerd I am.

Tomorrow I may have new favorite words, but those are the ones that are with me at the moment. What words sing to you?

What should you be doing right now?