Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Suburban Navy Blues - the Westchester Expat Chronicles

Funny how the type of my car totally commands how I go about my day: How I dress, how I walk/jump/hop/strut in & out of it, and how I communicate with fellow drivers on the street. My car dictates how I behave. It frames my state of mind. My car drives me even though I seem to be the one steering and shifting gear.

My car, for the past 5 years, designated me as a typical soccer mom. A heavy and “safe” 7-seater minivan that drives like a school bus, my Routan has faithfully driven my kids to school, soccer practice, karate, ballet, tennis, and everything in between. Naturally my work clothes were already boxed and out came my Lulu Lemons in all their galore. At least I did insist on style even though in the end, yoga pants and sneakers have become my wardrobe staples and in all honesty, they all looked and felt the same.

With three kids and a suburban lifestyle, a minivan is not just a car. It’s a mobile kitchen, a children’s closet, a laundry basket and in most cases a composting dump. When I calculate the average time I spend in my car per day, over 5 years, it amounts to 5 to 6 hours PER DAY! Yeah, ask the twitch in my right knee. It’s screaming MERCYYYYY…

Even when I do try to rise to a rare occasion and feel that urge to dress up, the glory of the moment only lasts till I reach my destination: be it a fancy dinner, a show or just a night in the MPD. The minute I step out of my Navy Blue Routan I get that feeling that people see through my mini skirt and high heels. Oblivious to my shadowy eyes and glossed up lips, all they see is a flashy blue Nike Fusion and thermal tights. I sigh inwardly and resign to the fact that this is what I am: a soccer mom who should be doing laundry and cleaning up my boys’ mess in their bathroom right now.

Five years of that vicious cycle till I went one day to my VW serve and they offered me a loaner car till mine was fixed. As I stepped outside the center, a shiny red CC was waiting for me, brand new in all its blue plastic.  You wouldn’t believe but in my loaner CC, I rushed home and unconsciously changed in skinny jeans and fancy booties and headed back out, ready to face the world as a Foxy suburban mom… whatever that means.

I’ve had my CC for a month. YES MY CC! and I’ve changed so much since. I even watch what I eat because a dew extra pounds simply won’t do with my new self image. I still did my errands and gazillion activities but with some drastic measures: No food allowed within the premises, No shoes off, Clothes changed should and must be neatly taken out before your feet touch solid ground, and if you absolutely have to ride my car, you’d better act like a sophisticated suburban kid too!

Surprisingly, I never had to drill any of these into their young rebellious minds. The CC had gotten to them too.

Every morning Walid would nudge me to call the service center: Have they forgotten about us? He’d ask.. every morning I would calmly promise to call and follow-up, knowing well that I don’t even have their number and won’t bother to look it up!

Yeah, my car does govern my life and I can’t wait to ditch the yoga pants and let my hair catch the wind in a uhummm not-a-routan-mobile J