Monday Mom, Dad, Seth, and I went looking around E’town for makes and models. I admit, before these last few days I had no idea what I was doing when car shopping. My first car—a dependable 1997 Toyota Camry—was found and purchased for me by my parents. The car terminology, the figures about financing, the idea of leasing a car—who ever heard of leasing a car?—and the restrictions when wanting to exploit my undergraduate certificate for discounts—details loomed around my head, mixed with persistent lecturing of my caring parents. It was aggravating. I felt stupid and childish. I wanted to be done.

Yesterday, on our first Louisville car-lot I mourned, and I mean deeply mourned, the untimely death of my Camry. My brother wove in and out of the used cars playing the same four cords of his ukulele, as my parents tried to tell me it wouldn’t be anything to learn to drive the $7,500 Volkswagen stick shift before I left for Chicago next week.

Annoyed.

Frustrated.

I started to calculate how many calories I would burn riding my bike 300-some miles with a suitcase strapped on my back.

Then at Car Max . . . I don’t mean to advertise, but Car Max is kind of awesome. I found some cars I wanted on-line. The sales guy, nice guy named Mike, took us to the cars, and then walked up through every step of the process. And today, when I went to switch the vehicle on my car insurance, the Geico lady said Car Max not only made the conversation easy because all the information on their server, but it made my rate lower!. . . Then at Car Max, right there in the front row was a 2004 Ford Focus. I initially wanted the younger, more expensive Focus for the sole fact that it was a beautiful shade of green. But in the end, I went to the Wildcat Blue!

I haven’t driven a lot of cars in my life, but this is one just felt right. Like those car commercials going that take tight turns—I could take those tight turns in my new car! Seth, once he stopped playing that stupid ukulele, decided I needed the perfect first song for my new car. He sat in it while I signed papers listening to that “Skeet, Skeet” song—decidedly, that doesn’t count. When Dad and I drove off the lot, Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” was on the radio. We laughed, but I count the first song in my new car to be One Republic’s “Good Life.” Given I was half way back to E’town at this point, but I was by myself and the first cords compels me to turn it up. It has a sad melody, but positive words. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, like I have positive words spoken in a sorrowful voice, like I got every reason to be happy but still doubt. I name “Good Life” the song of my summer, and I’ll listen to it in my brand new car next week as I drive to Illinois.

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