Driving in my car, car

by tamarjacobson

I didn’t always own a car. Living in Israel 19 years ago I used public transport but mostly rode to and from work on an old Raleigh bicycle. I loved my bike. In January 1988 I wrote a little piece in my journal about it. I was preparing to give the bicycle away to my step-daughter, Tammy, as I planned to emigrate to America. I wrote:

I like the idea of riding through my life. I jump on my bicycle – blue and silver, gentle friend – you gave me strength, stability, you helped me share the world around – the sea, the green, the warm, spring days, the blistering summer wind, the cold, wet winter – on your saddle, your wheels spinning round, you helped me realize my own strength, my freedom to choose, to act – I loved you so for this. I would ride with the wind in my hair – so free, so at one with all around me, and slowly but surely I built up the shivering, trembling, frightened me. I learned my strengths, I learned my weaknesses, I learned my independence and learned to love my alone-ness.

These days I hardly ever ride a bike. I take trains and walk, but mainly I drive. Nowadays, I love my car. It has become like a little home as I commute for hours back and forth from work, to and fro shopping around about the Chestnut Hill area. On the front seat, at my side I have a box of tissues, flashlight and cough drops. In the cupholder is a tall bottle of water. Sticking out of the heating duct is a little, rubbery green frog that Janna once gave me because I loved the movie, Magnolia so much when it first came out that I saw it three times in one week. Also from Janna is a little Mickey Mouse doll she picked up with a Happy Meal she purchased years ago. When I came out to my car, Mickey was lying face down on the windscreen under the windshield wiper. As Director of the Child Care Center in those days, I was very strict about not allowing Disney characters to decorate the walls. I guess Janna thought I deserved such a Mickey for putting them through a strict aesthetic code! I love my frog and Mickey because that way I know that Janna thought about me. In a drawer under the dashboard I store my Cd’s that fill the car with music as I drive: Eric Clapton, The Idan Raichel Project, a CD of "music for Tamar" created by Anya last summer, and Patti Griffin, to name a few.

Patti Griffin sings as I drive:

Making all this time stand still
standing, I’m standing, I’m standing
… Mother, I am weak but I am strong
Standing in the darkness this long
But in the deepest darkness I listen to your song
Mother I am weak but I am strong

And I become stronger. Just like all those years ago, when I was young, lithe, and brown-skinned, and rode my bicycle through my life.

A year ago at Tamarika: A note (update)