Learning how to map out a city for a week of sales calls takes more effort than one would think. In doing so for my first visit to each city in my territory, my manager and I decided a rental car made more sense than Uber. Navigating and parking in Seattle and downtown Honolulu became my worst nightmare, although no doubt the chaos of San Francisco’s afternoon rush hour topped every city. One of the appeals of moving to Chicago for my job was the prospect of selling my car and resorting to public transportation and Zip Car as necessary, because I would be moving to the downtown area, within blocks of my biggest clients.
I’ll admit, the idea of not needing a car was definitely a plus, considering my poor 2004 Volvo is on it’s last leg anyhow. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing my friend Amanda laugh and exclaim “Oh my God, Meghan!!!” as my car sputtered to life after slamming my foot on the gas pedal repeatedly. The “service transmission” notification never turns off, there’s a not-so-subtle paint streak along the side where I slid past a pole into my narrow parking spot a few weeks ago, it’s adorned with diamond-studded license plates, and the navigation is so outdated it showed my old Kirkland address as a tree lot. But hey, it gets me from Point A to Point B and the air-conditioning works, so what does it matter?
Running errands around Phoenix in preparation for the move to Chicago, I realized how much I will miss blasting my new favorite song on repeat and and listening to the radio with the sunroof open once I sell my car. Wearing solid headphones just isn’t the same as feeling the speakers vibrate and dancing in the car with your best friend.
It was a week before my college graduation when my friend Mackenzie and I had stacked my Volvo with boxes for the move out of my college apartment. At that point, my car was running better than we were, having just pulled yet another all-nighter completing our final exams and thesis revisions. Sugar-free Red Bull and The Chainsmokers were our best friends that day. The windows were down and we had just visited a cheap salon to each dye our hair blonde because “why the hell not?” We sat on t-shirts to prevent the tan leather seats from burning our bare legs. Cruising down Thunderbird Road that afternoon with the music blaring, I looked over to my friend who had witnessed every high and low that senior year:
“I did it. I finally did it. I finally fucking did it!”
I started sobbing and laughing all at once at the steering wheel as I was overcome with emotion and it hit me–I would be walking across the stage in just a matter of days. Despite every obstacle I encountered along the way, I was a college graduate. The road was blurry and the music was so loud the surrounding cars in the rear view mirror appeared to shake with the bass, but the hot Phoenix wind was freeing as we sang and danced in celebration of my accomplishment: I did it.