On a whim, I bought a red GTI, it was 6 speeds, and it was fast.
And by whim, I mean breakup. But anyway.
I had never driven a stick shift before, but I remember when the sales guy walked over to me, I liked him right away, as I’m standing there peeking in about to go walk away and look at the hybrids, he says hello. Having been raised properly, I said hello back.
Do you want to take it for a test drive he said? I smiled slowly, ‘no. I don’t know how to drive standard.’ He looked at me, I looked back, I eyed the weird coffee in the corner, black = regular, orange = decaf (many years spent as a waitress) and thought…well, that’s my exit. I think I’ll go get some coffee I said. Nice to meet you.
‘C’mon he said. What’s the worse that could happen.’
Well. Though no lives were lost in that test drive. We probably should have been wearing helmets. And if you’re wondering if it’s possible to get whiplash without actually hitting anything…I think it is. He, the patience of a saint (or a young salesperson trying to ask out a girl) and I, the reckless abandon, of a woman fresh off a breakup in need of the momentum of FAST. It was a perfect match.
Some people have major epiphanies in churches, and I, had a major epiphany in a church parking lot where many 16 year olds find jesus their first time behind the wheel. As we lurched all around the parking lot. Start. Stop. start. Stop. starrrrrr-STOOOOOOP! (like that). I could not wipe the smile off my face. There were moments of pure bliss where I would find the perfect rhythym of clutch, gear, gas…when I finally stopped staring at the gauges like a maniac and just felt…we moved. Where do I sign?
4-days later, I drove 15 miles home with my friend who knew how to drive standard sitting shot-gun. I had lessons the 3-nights prior from amazing friends who someone loved me more than they loved their cars, and after several successful donuts, I was ready.
Until I wasn’t ready.
And so cut to she and I driving down major MAJOR roads, and I must have stalled out 87 times in the 15 miles home. I started to cry out of sheer anxiety and fear, and I was sweating like I’ve never sweat before. I felt like I was driving on the equator. My friend, oh what a good friend, is literally shouting out cheers and affirmations to keep me going, as I am begging her to change sides with me, or atleast get on the ground and press the clutch for me (yes, I really did request this) But she didn’t. She gave the finger to all the honkers for me, and did not let me step out. I visualized myself pulling to the side of the road, and running down the highway in my flip flops.
Oh shit. I thought. I just made a 28,000 dollar mistake. I longed for my trusty Honda with it’s 2 pedals and it’s functions: drive or park. But then I remembered that your car loses like 84% of it’s value the second you drive off the lot, so being the economist that I am, I said ONWARD. (while crying)
I made it home approximately 90 minutes later (typically a 15 minute drive) my friend, once she made sure I wasn’t going to start drinking (1pm) or calling my ex-boyfriend (delete his number) left. And I got into the shower as that’s always my strategy. When shit goes south in my life, I get in the shower.
Side note. I shower like 5 times a day : ) Maybe I need a new strategy?
Anyway, I got out of the shower and I peer out the window and there she is. That red little bastard just peering at me, taunting me at what an idiot I am. With it’s snazzy little headlights, and moon-roof…and TOO MANY PEDALS AND FUNCTIONS! I breathed slowly looking out at this car with total contempt. I decided that I would just start riding my bike ever where, and that I would just manipulate my life so that if I couldn’t bike there, I just wouldn’t go. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll bike.
And then my inner bad-ass came out and told me to pull it together.
So I got back in it. Threw some jeans on, threw my wet hair up, and marched back out. I put my sunglasses on, parked a diet dr pepper in the cup holder, turned the radio on LOUD. And reversed. (well kinda, eventually I reversed)
And slowly by slowly I began to drive all over Rochester NY. Every once in a while I’d get ballsy and head onto the highway, and usually get right back off the next exit, I drove down the streets I had been driving on for years. First gear, second gear, third gear. I started to get it. And fear began to dissolve slowly into freedom.
I felt so F-ING FREE! So so free.
I drove by my favorite park.
I drove by my best friends house and waved (not wanting to stop cause then I’d have to start again)
I drove by my exboyfriends house and prayed I did not stall out right by his driveway.
I drove by my favorite lake and put all the windows down.
I drove and I drove and I drove.
And then I went home and showered again because the whole thing got me all sweaty.
Later that week, I’m enjoying a nice glass of wine at my friends house. I had successfully driven ‘the tomato’ as I liked to call her over there for a dinner party and parked in the driveway.
There is a frantic knock on the window and the sound of my friends shouting.
‘LYNDSEY FRYER YOUR CAR IS ROLLING INTO THE STREET!!!!!’
I threw back the curtains, and sure enough, there she was, the tomato, rolling down the driveway and into the street stopping about 8 inches short of a parked car. At first I though, someone was trying to steal my car.
But then I learned a valuable lesson in the parking break, which is a must in a standard car when on any type of hill. You have to not just pull it up, but waaaay up. Or it will roll.
The tomato and I had a really good run together. I loved the feeling of the road beneath me, I loved the sound a car makes when you switch gears, to me, it is as satisfying as cracking my knuckles (which much to my mothers chagrin I’ve been doing for years). I loved the surprised look on peoples faces when you say you can drive a standard car.
Above all I loved the reminder that the things that scare me, are the things that ultimately set me free. As with the truth. As with anything in which you declare you are bigger than your fears…
Faith over fear. Faith over fear.
It’s a concept that’s I’ve been really present with through all the trials, adventures, misteps, breakdowns and breakthroughs. This past year brought me to my knees again and again. Faith has moved its way into this year…and though 365 days can be quite arbitrary, I know that when I move from faith over fear…I go far.
I saw this quote come through on a few different feeds this week, and I think it is just so beautiful
‘If you want to go fast. Go alone. If you want to go far. Go together’
I had the opportunity yesterday to practice faith and share a part of my story in which there is shame and fear. To someone who just about 30 minutes prior I did not know. A stranger. And yet with faith each person you meet becomes a clearing space to come a little more free…to come a bit more undone…to see that we are all the same, and that shame, it feels the same in everybody. Every body.
I am grateful for those that show me faith. In those most unexpected ways.
To do the things that scare the shit out of us so that we can put the proverbial windows down, throw our shades on, turn up our favorite favorite song. And at our best, have our favorite people riding shot-gun, shouting out cheers and affirmations, reminding us we are bigger than we know.
As George Michael said.
You gotta have faith.
Ooo ooo, faith-a-faith-a-faith. (Bum-Bah!) (press play people!)