Do you own something incredibly impractical that makes you smile every time you use it or look at it? My ridiculous and impractical happy thing is a 1994 Mazda Miata – in my absolute favorite color— a deep royal blue.
This car was a dumb decision from the start. It made no sense to buy a two-seat convertible in a city that has only three days a year in which you can comfortably drive it. Yet, as my dear friend, we’ll call her “Joanne,” says, “That’s why it has air conditioning and a heater.” I know. Ecoterrorism! But I’m certainly not the first person to drive the Kennedy with the top down on a ninety-degree day with the air-conditioning blasting. My friend “Joanne” notwithstanding.
It also didn’t make sense for a couple desperately trying to have children to buy a two-seat convertible. However, as I firmly believe Murphy is always watching, six-months after we bought it—used in early ’95—I was pregnant with twins. (In fact, I think Murphy, his law and that Miata had everything to do with the fortuitous conception of those twins.)
Hugely pregnant, I kept having a recurring vision of calling my husband in a panic from the garage. Honey! Help! I’m stuck inside the car!
No power windows. No power rag top—we have to manually raise and lower it, zipping and unzipping the plastic window each and every time. No power nothin’. But this car. Man. I love this car.
I know it’s only a thing. We’re taught we’re not supposed to love things. But I can’t even look at it without smiling. It’s a natural antidepressant. Not to mention driving it. It is impossible to not be happy behind the wheel of this car.
Drivers can cut me off and tailgate, text and weave, and I smile, because they’re not driving a 1994 Mazda Miata with the top down.
Lake Shore Drive? On a beautiful day? Absolutely nothing like it. I feel so blessed and grateful—the wind in my hair, my gorgeous city looking its best. My little car even makes me smile in the middle of winter, when it’s nothing more than a one-ton paperweight inside my garage, because it reminds me of summer and the three nice days we have here in Chicago every year in which I can drive it.
It doesn't make sense anymore, if it ever did, to hang onto this car, but I can't bear to part with it. Because on the days when life hands me a s*&# sandwich, the day after it already handed me a s*&# sandwich and the day before it's going to hand me another one, getting behind the wheel of my little blue car takes me to a place of happiness and gratitude for everything I do have. It cures my blues and makes me smile.
Plus, I think it's funny that all three of my teenagers hold out hope that, someday, I'll actually let them drive it.
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