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First world car problems in your twenties


I’ll admit it, I didn’t know how good I had it. I was car spoiled.

I don’t mean I had a fancy car. It wasn’t even a new car. And my parents endlessly reminded me that they owned the car and that letting me drive it was a favor. As if I was going to steal it like a common criminal.

But my dad did make sure it was always in proper order. He could put a Lohan car victim back together again. I mean he is that good. He would change my oil, spark plugs, deal with the tires, vacuum it, everything.

Back in 2011, I was lucky to have gotten an internship at a nonprofit called Keep Houston Beautiful. If any of you are from Houston, you know what a death trap Allen Parkway turns into when it rains. It’s like the Indy 500 and someone has put baby oil on your wheels. The city even carved out grooves in the road but that didn’t really help. So inevitably, I hydroplaned on my way back from work one rainy day and flipped over medians. I screamed my face off as an incoming car landed cozily in the middle of my vehicle.

Seriously though, I just did a google search for allen parkway and this was the number two result: Hummer flips, kills driver on Allen Parkway.

The car was still drivable but I was shaken and even more terrified to make the call to my parents. There were pieces hanging off, all the tires were flat, the back door looked like it had been sat on by Wreck it Ralph and to top it all off, the police officers thought my hysterical ugly crying was hilarious.

Still, my dad rejuvenated this piece of metal like a phoenix rises from the ashes. He should be on Pimp My Ride. I made him watch an episode with me once and he pretty much muttered “I can do that, that’s not hard,” the entire time.

Fast forward two years.

I drove that baby half way across the country. We’re adventuring all over Southern California and we couldn’t be happier.

I don’t have an actual picture but if I did, it would look something like this.

or this

The honeymoon phase had lasted a long time. I think I knew this in the back of my mind but I was too busy getting carried away by my car — literally. So when she started malfunctioning, I figured those were just her little quirks and I would love them just the same.

I’m an idiot.

When your car does weird things, call a professional. Hell call anyone who has ever talked to you about cars for more than 10 minutes. I feel like this is a PSA.

Alright, alright. It was just the battery. I could handle that. But two trips to Auto Zone, a new battery and a bum wheel proved me wrong. This was the most painful adulting I had done in a while. In college it was about paying taxes correctly, budgeting, learning to tip, building credit and learning the value of a dollar.

But now it was about learning that the world looks at you differently. You’re not a kid anymore and therefore you’re not immune to it’s sporadic inconveniences that sting like lemon juice in a paper cut. Everything can seem great and suddenly you’re out $443 the same week you accidentally get a parking ticket and some jerk steals your bike.

And it’s all because you’re so much closer to being a real adult than when you first  joined the ranks of the Y Generation, feeling valiant but proceeding uncouthly.

Last year it was all, “who am I?” “I say yes to adventure and the occasional day-drink” and now it’s all “I’m making my own natural almond bars and biking to work because I respect the environment and my wallet.”

This mundane incident reminded me that while my hangover tolerance is plummeting, the single gray hair count is rising and I’m one year closer to dropping the early from my semi-broad age definer, I can still embrace the haphazard parts of being a young adult.

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Having your parents over when you’re in your twenties


I was running at the park when it happened. Wanting to change up the scenery, I headed to the park for a long run as punishment for the cookie and red, velvet cake I had this week. I ended up going around the whole park because I can’t read signs and am easily distracted by birds. So much so that I just end up following them and thus spent two hours walking/running/crawling in tunnels around the park.

Anyway, my mother called. I hit ignore immediately. Can’t have her messing up my jams. I need music to stay in the zone sometimes when I workout because I’m not a freak that loves to run for hours. But she called again. As a general rule, if someone calls me three times in a row, I answer. Regardless of what I am doing. It’s clearly a life or death situation in my book.

“Hey…[long pause.]”

yea…

“We’re leaving in a bit.”

okay?…

“To Victoria. To pick up your car.”

Oh, okay. I’m running. Call you later. [PANIC]

Okay, normally I would panic. But it’s been a pretty boring week so I had done a lot of cleaning already and I actually kinda missed my parents.

I figured I had a couple of hours so I took some photos at the park before heading back.

Clearly, the next stop was at the store for some alcohol and a movie because we tend to sit around awkwardly and I wanted to avoid that since my teenage cousin was coming along for the ride too, bless her soul.

Once my mother called me to let me know they were in town, I just started pacing. The wireless went out again at that moment so I couldn’t distract myself. I was so excited to see them even if it was only going to be for a couple of hours. I paced some more and told Orbison to calm down because he was making me nervous. He looked at me from the couch where he was trying to sleep and gave me  a look that said, “Pull yourself together. And bring me a taco.” I thought about how different this was compared to a year ago. A year ago, I would probably still be running around, hiding random things I thought they would judge me for and texting my bff about what an inconvenience this was. Just then Orbison leaped toward the door.

They brought me chicken nuggets and the food tasted like love.

Once upon a time my mother visited me and ripped the fan chain out in a hulk-like fashion. Maintenance took a look and said they would replace it. That was several weeks ago. My dad took a look at it as soon as he walked in and deemed it unfix-able as well. It always touches my heart how he always checks the apartment looking for things that might need fixing. I remember he got upset when I was younger because I rearranged my room while he was at work. He didn’t care that I had moved things, he was just sad I didn’t need his help. Yea, that’s the kind of dad I have.

My dad went to bed before the movie was over so my mom and I did what we do best. Stayed up and gossiped about random family members/people we work with/anyone who we happened to see that day. It was great.

It blows my mind that there was a time I didn’t know how to talk or be around these people. They’re actually pretty cool.

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What being a good friend in your twenties means


It’s hard watching your friends do things to themselves that hurt.

Once you’ve been friends with someone for so long and they’ve seen you ugly cry, lock your keys in your trunk for the third time and milk come out of your nose, it turns into something more than just friendship.

You start to actually care about this person’s well being and future. Struggling between being a mom and being a friend can be tough. Especially when you’re deciding whether you should send that late night message to TFLN or try to explain why hashtagging #tweetfromthebackofacopcarTuesday isn’t such a good idea.

For me, my twenties have always been an adventure waiting to happen. If I don’t travel now, then when? Impromptu trips to Mexico in the name of journalism. Weekend trips to sleep in the stands of a friend’s graduation because she went to yours even though neither of you slept for 48 hours prior. sorry mom. Thanksgiving in BFE, Maryland because his mom makes the best home grown cream corn. Taking home two snakes because they were free and you were pretty sure the terrariums were strong enough to keep them from eating your dog.

You get busy making new friends and seeing new places. You see the friends you made in school less and less. A phone call here, a long email there. And be lucky if you have one that uses technology. I’m not talking interwebz. I mean a cell phone. Yes, some of my friends might as well be these people.

But complaints aside. Those blue moon phone calls and random inside joke texts keep it going and remind you why these bonds are meant to be.

So what do you do when that person is about to make a significant change to his or her life that they’re incredibly excited about and you strongly doubt its success? Telling them your feelings would be comparable to telling them you ran over their puppy. You try to write out how the conversation will go but really, you know it’s all going to hell if they start crying. What if they resent you? What if you can’t say it in the right way?

What if you don’t say it and they get hurt?

Really hurt.

I’ve watched enough Lifetime movies to know what “the right thing to do” is. But reality doesn’t always respect morals. Sometimes the right thing to do doesn’t turn out well and you’re just done. The older I get the more rude awakenings come my way of how, not all things end up alright in the end. Everything’s gonna be alright is a great song. But that’s all it is. I’m not trying to be somber or negative. It’s just one of those turns life takes that isn’t so fun. But you learn from it and the next time it happens you’re not so shocked and can handle it better.

I guess I just didn’t want this to be one of those turns. I was hoping I could just hit the breaks and glide into a field of flowers where my friend and I could just frolick with ponies and margaritas or something. But I’ll prepare for a screeching halt, just in case.

Silver lining: I imagine with either outcome there will be margaritas. But I’ll try to sneak in a pony, too.

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