Going Along for the Ride

I’m going to be without a car for about three weeks starting on Monday, and when I mentioned this to a woman I dance with, she said, “Maybe you’ll have to ask your friends for help.” She said it sweetly and kindly, but the impression my friend gave me was that I was just too damn independent. Others have come right out and said the words, not meaning them as a compliment, and I suppose it’s the truth. I don’t like to put people out or put them on the spot or make them feel burdened by my requests. Still, people do like to help. So . . .

Maybe it’s time for me to be less stubbornly independent.

Or not. What do I know? Not as much as I once did, that’s for sure.

But my friend is right. If I am without transportation at such a critical time — when I am about to be ejected from the only home I’ve known for the past five years — then I will have to ask for help, even though it’s my decision to be without a vehicle. (I’m going to have my ancient VW bug de-rusted, de-dented and re-painted in celebration of my new start in life. Makes me smile to think of restoring the bug while I am restoring me.)

It’s interesting all the changes — outer and inner — that are coming at the same time as the fifth anniversary of Jeff’s death. (The actual anniversary is this Friday.) I feel like I’m crossing some great divide, though I’m not sure what the divide is dividing. Maybe the last of my old life and the beginning of my new. Coming to my father’s house to take care of him was a transitional stage for me. A place where I could grieve, where I could move away from my old shared life without having to start anew.

And now it’s time to start anew. (We never really do start a new life, of course. Every stage is an extension of our one life, but sometimes it feels like a new start, particularly when so little of the old remains.)

Another friend said about my current situation, “Grief and joy mixed up with movement. That’s a recipe for . . . I don’t know what.” She suggested asking the I Ching. Sounds so exotic! Now I just need to think of the proper question to ask. (Not a yes or no question.)

The oddest thing about this upcoming odyssey is how many friends I have. (It bewilders me at times that so many people seem to like me.) Some friends have said I simply cannot leave the area, that I have to stay here so they can have the benefit of my company. Others say I have to go on an epic journey so they can experience it vicariously.

Me? For now, I’m just going along for the ride. And starting next week, I will literally be going along for the ride. No driver’s seat for me for a while. Should be interesting.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

7 Responses to “Going Along for the Ride”

  1. sumalama Says:

    You’ll learn a lot about yourself without the car for a while. And about the people you know, friends and acquaintances. It’ll be interesting. Enjoy it, enjoy the new and improved bug when it’s ready, and above all, enjoy life. It IS good. Hugs, Millie

  2. artreviewed Says:

    Good luck! I think its kind of exciting, the great unknown before you, its like a book that hasn’t been written and you are the only person in charge of your destiny! I can’t wait to see what you get up to!

    Nice to hear you are restoring your bug too! 🙂 Cant wait to see how it looks once finished! It may be a bind not having a car for that long but it will be worth it in the end!

    Big hugs

    Suzi xx

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, not knowing the future or even what I want the future to be is exactly like reading (or writing) a book. I’m looking forward to seeing what I write/read.


  3. frederick anderson Says:

    OMG, how will you do it? I only have to be without my car for twenty-four hours and my feet start twitching on imaginary pedals. And as for the joys of riding the bus, what can I say? All that smelly humanity cramped into a hot tin box! No matter, I’m sure you will emerge at the other end of this experience a wiser, more completed individual. Sadder, too.

    I wish your Bug well as it is prepped for a major operation, and trust it will have a speedy recovery. I do hope you aren’t going to paint it orange?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      With all the car problems I’ve had in the past few months, I’m used to getting by without it, at least temporarily. (The most was ten days, I think.) Buses here are sporadic and seldom go where I want to go when I want to go, so I’ll walk when I can. In an emergency, I can beg for a ride.

      No orange! I asked for the same marine blue color.

  4. Constance Says:

    Thanks for the fabulous compliments on all of us.
    I think that we looked great and danced well too.

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