A Year Ago My Pretties

I’m back.

Driving a new car with a wider windshield but still taking out of focus photographs from behind the wheel.

Back thinking more about images as narrative than the art of the negotiating a car deal.

And, this one, taken this morning (actually four images) has the story arc of this past year.

The blinding white light reportedly seen just before or right after death is there and that’s what precisely a year ago I felt I was seeing.

Not my physical death, although it felt physical at times, but the steady demise of this nation’s fiscal muscle as well as mine.

A year ago, I wrote a post about my Sky is Fallin’ friend, Jim, whose eulogy I gave in 2005.  The economic crisis that began in September of ’08 was a moment (as it turned out, months of moments) when I needed my friend to put the pieces of the sky back where it belonged.

Now, a year later, on the same day, September 16, 2009, I have bought a new car.

What happened?  I wasn’t buying bottled water, never mind a new car, a year ago.

Essentially, I went to the school of  ‘Take Control of What You Can’ on a yellow school bus in three notorious areas of volatility: creativity, finances and health.  My exposure to volatility in all areas still exists but is more in line with my age and height, risk tolerance, and in the case of my creativity, in line with my talents.  Sounds simple but oh baby what a wild ride on this yellow bus careening through the streets.

A ride that was filled with dizzy, vertiginous, rolling, month after month of sickening hairpin turns but I earned my degree and learned I can survive, albeit still slightly out of focus, by my own wits and creativity– every day, rain or shine, snow or sleet and ice–and, in so doing, can be my own sky is fallin’ friend.

This past week of real world car shopping transformed me from a woman who felt like bursting into tears upon entering the showroom, to the one who negotiated a respectable deal (Thanks to niece, Alice, and her suggestion of buying the Consumer Reports New Car Buying Guide) but don’t get me wrong.  The dealer still made money on the car but at least I didn’t go, “Oh, I love THAT one!”, pointing to a cherry tomato red Toyota RAV4, and immediately write the check.

I’d personally like to thank Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and that cast of world financial advisers and leaders who had to make very unpopular decisions, and I’m sure unthinkable decisions, starting a year ago, to prevent this economy and economies world wide, from totally melting down and settling my inner rattling cage to manageable levels.  The economy isn’t “fixed” but at least I’m not hiding six months of living expenses in my volumes of W.B Yeats letters and poetry instead of a potentially failing bank or money market account, as I did at one point last October.

My gratitude extends out to my weekly Weight Watchers meeting attendees, as well, who sometimes make me laugh out loud (e.g.: last week, a woman who apparently drives a great deal and who has lost 70 lbs, gave the group this tip,  “Just throw the wrappers (of candy bars, snacks, crackers) on the car floor and add up the points at the end of the day) as we get healthier and to those blogging and real world friends who take the time to comment on my creativity, day after day, week after week.

But, just so you know–I still don’t buy bottled water.  I get my 6-8 glasses a day straight from the tap.

©Pat Coakley 2009


9 comments on “A Year Ago My Pretties”

  1. Congrats, Pat, on the new car, and the fresh perspective you consistently provide here. May your hairpins be precisely timed, and your mind clear . . .

  2. Thanks, Brian, and when the unemployment figures start going down, we’ll all breathe a bit easier, too!

  3. Wonderful image and words to go with it. We’ve all been on a bit of a wild ride this past year, and are probably all a bit different for it. I don’t think the ride is quite “over” yet, but hopefully we are better prepared, with more skilled and sensible drivers at the helm of that yellow bus. Thanks go back to you for keeping your readers engaged with such thoughtful and interesting images and words.

    • Oh, Don, you are ever gracious..thank you. I get prickly at times, like one or your odd St. Croix fruits or sea creatures, but you are always such a gent!

  4. Pat, I just love this blog post. How much of my mother I see in it. Everything from the impending doom of what has happened in the stock market in the last year, to the car shopping, having to make decisions and…lol weight watchers wisdom!

    Im so glad you got a car that is going to be reliable. I am sure that all of us are taking a big breath sigh of relief not to be thinking of you any more running around at the crack of “oh my god thats not the time” in a car that wasn’t reliable.

    I had issues with my own mother (being very independent minded) when she and my crazy Auntie Lou would take off in less than reliable transportation to God knows where and well… with the two of them together… who knew what could happen!

    Anyhow you gave me a smile for the day. Actually I bless you each and every day because you have brought more than you can imagine to my world.

    • Too bad I don’t have a crazy Aunt Lou, too! I bet she didn’t worry as much as I do and would have been a nice antidote. Thanks, Amber. Don’t go blessing me so much. That makes me nervous, too.

  5. When the going gets tough, the tough buy a new car!

    Great image.

  6. Pat, what a difference a year makes. And oh what a roller coaster this past year has been. Feels more like 5 years since September 2008, doesn’t it? This image has so much movement to it – love the blur of the bus and stock falling in the wing mirror. Hope you have much fun in your new car. Hugs and congratulations on your new ‘degree’. Hard won but worth the pain just so you can now (hopefully) get some more sleep at night in the knowledge that no matter how scary things are, you are one of life’s survivors.

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