“Driving isn’t only about cars…”
My father was a racer. My half-brothers, some were also, some owned a racing school. My half-sisters and my mother both worked for car companies and dealers. So you could probably guess by now, what kind of line I came from.
Sadly I deviated from them. I chose to write.
It’s not that I don’t like cars. It’s just that I don’t like cars as much as they do, to the point that their lives are spent on it. But I do have fascination to luxury cars, and dream of one day driving one.
There was always that pressure of being like them, my mother had me drive and get a license at a young age, she bought an SUV for me, which I never used because as much as I loved driving, I prefer taking the passenger seat, had me guided by her business associate, enrolled me in a driving school, had me guided by her drivers, had me drive at EDSA and to school, still didn’t use the SUV because I once stepped on the gas so hard that I almost wrecked it. In short, driving was just another activity to me. An activity I liked but didn’t like to do much. I remember once, my mother and I had a heated conversation, because she wanted me to take Mechanical Engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology (where my father took the same degree). But the story goes the other way, I fought for what I wanted, and that is to take up writing, Journalism to be more specific. And yes, I was the different one.
I came to the point that I almost hated everything about cars, because of all the pressure. Fortunately enough, my mother and I compromised each other and said, “If that’s what really makes you happy, then I won’t impose on you”s and “I will support you”s. Good for me. I thought so.
The summer vacations were bad (except for my fandom activities and friends which definitely fulfilled my life). More often than not, whenever my mother caught the chance to have a talk with me (when I’m at home and not busy going fangirl), she would always bring up talks about me learning how to do her business, in short, managing her car body repair company. And for me, this was a big NO-NO. I can become a racer, but not a head of a car repair company (even though it’s FORD or Mitsubishi). You could probably guess what happened next. World War III, World War IV, World War V. I got used to it. My ears became deaf of all the cars and taking over the business talks. I became numb. But being the easily-pissed off me, I still came to the point that I couldn’t handle my temper anymore. And so, I summoned all my powers again to ask her sarcastically (like I always do being the bad girl I was). And the summer vacation became hotter than it was ever.
“What the hell is with cars that you can continually torture me with your nagging? Don’t you know that instead of loving it, I’m hating it because of your endless speech about cars, cars, cars, blah, blah, blah?” –the exploded me asked.
She sat across me astonished. Oh yes, I felt guilty. I hit a nail on the head.
“How can you say something like that? Cars were what brought you to what you are today. You get all the stuff you want, go to a private university, eat meals three times a day or even more, even get the money to buy your Dong Bang Stuff*. Is that how you thank my business?”
“Mama, I was saying that you nag me too much that I’m hating IT. If you don’t want me to completely hate it, quit pushing it to my face”
As if that moment turned into a Philosophy class, my mother changed colors. This wasn’t our everyday quarrel.
“If you think driving is only about cars and cars are the only ones you can drive, then the problem is with you.”
Makes me wonder now if my mother’s life was only about cars.
That reminds me, my mother was one of those people whose life could be written in a novel, one that would definitely come out as a bestseller. She left home at a young age, to run away from the shackles of ugly fate that has been entrusted to her. She went to go learn about life by herself, and was taken in by a man she didn’t love at first. she had to cling on to somebody for survival, and later on, she did not only need to survive for herself, but also for the life that has been breathed inside of her. Everyone around her despised her for having that child inside of her, and of all people, having that man for the father. She was widowed at a young age, leaving her again with rags to turn to riches. She had friends she wanted to call "friends" but never lived up to the word "friends", she had also a few real ones. She had been used, misused and abused many times, she had tried to be happy countless times, too. But that’s another story. Where were cars in all of that? Well, my father was the root of that "car madness". She owed everything to cars for her success, she was very good at it, and it went on forever. She managed to have her own "car business", have her own people. She was good at handling them, most of her current workers were already there with her since day 1, and that day 1 was since my childhood days. No one ever left her, all were loyal. She was also good with her business management and public relations skills. Makes one realize that she shouldn’t just be limited with the "car stuff". She could expand in other areas if she wanted to.
But she never did. Perhaps there was something else in cars than meets the eye.
Everyday, almost without fail, news programs tell us stories of car accidents. Different scenarios, different causes, different people. Some only leave marks and bruises, some leave no life left. Some attain justice, some don’t. Some were purely accidents, most were results of carelessness.
It’s ironic to see that something that was created for the very purpose of making life easier for everyone claim lives, too. Cliche much, but should always be said.
Just as some were fated to happen for a reason (because as we all know, things happen for a reason), some were not supposed to be, too. For example, a case of a pile up which rooted from one drunk driver, and ended in lives lost, makes one realize that, even if not intended, pain can be born. Another case would be a driver enjoying himself with too much speed, and you can guess what happens next. Seeing people hurt from all of these, seeing cars that once brought happiness, vehicles that helped make a living wrecked, jobs lost, trust tainted – fills one’s mind with "if only"s and "should"s and "would"s. They should have hit that break. They should have checked those mirrors. They should have looked where they were going. they should have lessened their speed. They should have thought before doing this or that.
They should have considered they weren’t the only ones driving.
Giving much thought to my mother’s words that day, about "driving not only about cars, and cars not only the ones driven", looking back at my mom’s background and stories of regret brought about by reckless driving and with some happenings in my life recently…
I think I understand much better now.
There really is something else about cars.
That day she cried because of me. I realized.
That day I hurt her because I was being too fast and straightforward without taking into consideration she was there beside me.
That day she told me I was suffocating her with my rants.
Was the day I hit her heart.
Was the day I stepped on the gas too much without looking at the speed meter.
Was the day the airbag met her face because of my recklessness.
My mother was so good in life as much as she was in driving. There were times that she bumped to walls, but she picked up the pieces of herself and got back on track. She made a lot of wrong turns as she always told me in her stories, but found her way back, too.
She was always pushing way beyond her limit, and in the end she would become too exhausted to run. Whenever she couldn’t move, the advice would always be "you just need to cool down".
As if caught in a prix, to real that goal, she would hit that gas hard. Sometimes, she was too fast for anyone else to catch up. It was inevitable that she would bump into someone else. But she never ran from the damages. A "Hit-and-Run" was a NO-NO.
I was very much the same.
With a recent happening in my life that I hurt a person who considered me as her heart-to-heart friend. A lot of things dawned before my eyes.
Exaggeration aside, if I were to compare to driving how I was as a friend and as a person…
I would be the too easygoing reckless type.
A lot of people dear to me know how sharp my tongue can be, how fast I can be with my decisions, how hard I can hit a person and how many walls and posts I want to bump myself into. Most of the time, these bad (driving) habits tend to hurt even the people I should have been protecting.
I was simply expressing my opinions that time. I thought that because you were there beside me, we had the same thoughts. I made that mistake of forgetting you had a voice, too. I was selfish to think that you were comfortable beside me, in the passenger seat. But the speed bumped us into a wall, and an airbag hit your face. I thought I was protecting you, but it stole the air you were breathing. You were suffocated by me.
I should have hit that break. Lessened the speed. There wasn’t only me. There were others on their own paths in life. I shouldn’t have hit them. I could have avoided the damage.
But perhaps that hit woke me up.
"Driving isn’t only about cars…" says me.
Everyone should learn driving. Driving life safely. Driving relationships smoothly.
Even in how we say our words and express ourselves…
Don’t forget to break when it’s needed. You may kill someone outside… and inside.
I need to get back on track again. Now where are those keys? 🙂