An Ode to MINI Cooper

An Ode to MINI Cooper

Dear MINI,

I apologize in advance for my verbosity and the lengthiness of this letter, but I think it’s true that when one is passionate about something, one can go on forever about that something. And this something is really something. Or something.

I grew up a huge fan of The Beatles and also VW Beetles. But then a teenier and unbearably cuter car rolled into view: The MINI Cooper. I was instantly enamored. My seventh grade boyfriend even got me a mini yellow MINI model for my church confirmation. I still have it yet today.

When I turned sixteen, my lovely Grammy gave me her ’96 Chrysler Concorde. It was a fair bit longer than a yacht. My parents used that as part of a trade-in for my younger brother’s first vehicle (still not over it), so I was left carless. As much as I begged and pleaded with my aunt, the designated coinpurse, I was not allowed to get my coveted MINI Cooper as they were “small and unsafe.”

‘Sputtering’ doesn’t begin to cover my reaction to those words. 

I ended up with a Dodge Caliber, which was… not a MINI. But I got a job at a car dealership in town and always kept an eye on the inventory.

One day, a co-worker told me that someone had just traded in a MINI Cooper hardtop to another location. I hadn’t even seen it, but I had it sent up. I’m pretty sure that was that salesman’s easiest, quickest sale to date.

I loved that MINI. It was black and had broad, red stripes up the bonnet, across the roof, and down the boot. I found blue ones online and had the red ones replaced. I bought ridiculously huge fog lamps for the grille and had a push-pull, choke-like knob installed to turn those on and off. I bought an S chrome gas cap to replace the non-S gastank door. It was a beauty, and, oh, it was so mine.

Then, as it happens, I got into (read: obsessed) the BBC show Sherlock. Shortly thereafter, and I don’t even know how I found this (read: I was probably google-searching any and all things Sherlock Holmes), I saw that MINI had a Baker Street Edition. 

Wat?(son)

I had to have it. 

I went straight to the local dealer, MINI of Omaha, met with the most perfect saleswoman and kindred spirit, Kim, and I probably had the Baker Street Edition ordered that same day.

Saying goodbye to my first MINI was tough. I got emotional right there in the parking lot. I knew it would be going to a good home and an excellent driver who would have even more fun with it than I did. I’ve yet to see it around town, but I’m still hoping to someday.

The Baker Street, though, woof. What a beauty. The Rooftop Grey paint, the dapper-cut bonnet stripes, the door sills, the door scuttles, the dash panel, the floor mats, the seat fabric and stitching, oh, God, I’m drooling just thinking about it. Utterly gorgeous. And don’t even get me started on the delivery process, oh, too late:

When one orders a MINI directly from Oxford, one gets to track their baby, and that’s not even my word, online. Like a package. Like a delightful bundle of joy. There is no stone left unturned by MINI. They literally think of everything and everything is bespoke and simply perfection. But yes, you get to watch your baby being ‘born’ and when it’s having its last check-up and when it’s making its way across the pond and when it reaches dry land.. It’s just a wonder to behold. 

Now I’m getting emotional again.

Anyway, that MINI was my pride and joy and I planned on having it until it couldn’t tick over any more miles.

That is, until, that feat was made impossible. 

One night in February of this year, I was driving to see my dad. His driveway leads out onto a busy street, so it’s sometimes nerve-wracking to park in it. This night, as with every night, I signaled my turn from at least two blocks away. As I was slowing and turning into his driveway, I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw headlights coming quickly right for me. I thought, “they’ll see me, they’ll see me, oh my God, they aren’t going to stop!” and I went to press the accelerator. The last thought I had as I stepped on the gas pedal was, “this’ll be a narrow miss.” 

It wasn’t.

If you’ve never been in a car accident, you won’t know what I’m talking about; and if you’ve seen one on TV or in a film, you still won’t know what I’m talking about; but there is a noise unlike any other. Louder than I can explain. I can still hear it if I think about it. 

A suburban rear-ended me going about 45mph which swiftly sent me skidding in the snow and T-boning into a utility pole in my dad’s yard. 

In my daze, I tried to open my door and it wouldn’t open. I then panicked a bit and shoved into it a few times. All of a sudden, it was like someone had reached in and lifted me over my gearshift, across the passenger seat, and out the door. To this day, I don’t remember how I got out so easily that way. 

I walked around to the driver’s side of my MINI and my heart absolutely broke. I couldn’t even feel any pain other than that, between the adrenaline, the shock, and the anger. When the driver of the suburban got out, a teenage girl, I yelled at her. “I am so fucking pissed off at you!” 

My MINI, my baby, which I was supposed to have forever, was gone. But I was alive. And I was alive because of my MINI. The curtain airbags kept my head from crashing right into the window, the seatbelt kept me from going anywhere. I was able to walk away. I sustained a bruised and very sore right side, a stiff neck, and anxiety. The MINI sustained quite a bit more.

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You can see how deeply the pole lodged. It still hurts to look at these.

It took a long time to get over, and I’m not particularly over it. It was a loss. It was also a loss of some of my confidence in driving. I’ve always loved driving. I go for drives to calm down or just for fun. After this accident, any time I would pull up to a stoplight or stopsign or anywhere someone would have to stop behind me, my eyes would be glued to my rear view mirror, pleading with everything I had that the person would see me and stop. Even in broad daylight. There were a few times I actually began to take evasive action and pull to the side because I thought, for sure, this person isn’t going to stop. 

Now, with insurance and the rental car and having a job, I knew I couldn’t wait the month or so to replace my baby with another Baker Street, so I had to go for something else. Which was also very difficult. Part of me wanted desperately to just have it back. Go back to the way things were. Start fresh. But then part of me knew it wouldn’t be the same, even if it was physically the same down to the last V on the dash.

I’d only had her for a year. And in that year, she was kept in a garage for three months while I was living in London. I hated that I’d missed out on those three months of driving her. She was truly my dream car.

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When the Clubman came out years ago, I’d always loved the idea of the barn doors. They were adorable and fun, not to mention totally handy and perfect for when you’ve got your shopping and can’t manage a hatch. 

The Clubman came to mind when I had to look for a new car. And because I couldn’t possibly drive anything else, obviously, I was back at MINI of Omaha.

I also thought, sort of as an homage, I’d get it in British Racing Green. I’d actually painted my nails that color as I was in mourning. I warned you: passionate.

MINI of Omaha found me a 2014 British Racing Green Clubman, manual (because how could I do anything else), brand new, with leatherette heated seats, a panoramic moon roof; pretty much everything I wanted besides the black wheels and bonnet stripes. Which was fine, I could take care of those things later.

They got it in for me and it was beautiful. It was hard after the Baker Street, but I grew to love my new MINI, of course. Especially when I went in to order bonnet stripes and I noticed that I could get Baker Street Edition bonnet stripes… Ohhhh, boy. I couldn’t contain my excitement at the parts counter. And when they were installed? Wow. It was perfect. The perfect combination. 

I had a Black Jack rear view mirror cover and a Black Jack grille badge to match. I also installed another grille badge that had a quote from Sir Alec himself, “I don’t want bloody women driving my cars.” It was all coming together to be my little British Chappy.

Then this past Saturday, 30th of August, just hours after my mom’s wedding, I was driving to dad’s – this may sound familiar – and as I neared his driveway, I noticed that his friend had parked a bit crooked and if I parked behind him, I’d have to let him out eventually. For the sake of ease and laziness, I decided parking on the side street would be best. 

There was not another side street to the west until further south, so I moved over to get into the center turning lane to take a turn eastward. As I was slowing, downshifting, and moving into the center turn lane, no sooner had I done so that I heard loud, drawn-out screeching of tires. I couldn’t see anything, so I had no idea what was coming until it hit me head-on.

The impact was hard and loud, but luckily I had no time to react, otherwise I would have tensed up. When I came to a stop, I was facing the opposite direction on the opposite side of the street. My horn was blaring, the airbag had gone off and the windshield had shattered. I had glass and airbag residue in my mouth. I tried to open my driver’s door and it wouldn’t open. In my panic, I rolled down the window and was prepared to climb out. Thankfully, I didn’t even attempt it, and I crawled across the gearshift and passenger seat to get out that way. Even in my state, thinking, “this is harder than last time.”

I walked around the back of the car because the horn was just so loud. I couldn’t even look back at it. My left hand was bleeding and I could hardly walk, but I almost started to walk the couple houses to my dad’s before I thought better of it. Luckily, there were, what seemed like, about six witnesses who took care of calling the police and getting the driver’s license plate number and letting me phone my dad. I remember asking, “do you hear the horn? I was in an accident.” He half-shouted, what?! and I was so upset and furious that I wasn’t thinking clearly. I shouted back, “CAN’T YOU HEAR THE HORN? Just come down the street toward the horn!”

For the sake of things to come, I won’t go any further with the details, but I will repeat what the responding officer told me: When the tow truck came to pick up my car as I was taken to the hospital, the tow truck driver thought he was picking up a fatality. That told me exactly how bad it looked.

I mean, I knew it was bad. It was a head-on collision with a drunk driver. I couldn’t put weight on my right foot, I had a laceration requiring stitches on my left middle finger and couldn’t use my left arm – it took the airbag in less than a stride and my chest took the rest of it – I had cuts and glass all over me. Amazingly, the x-rays were negative for breaks in my foot, hand, and chest; I had no breaks anywhere else. I am, however, mottled with bruises and contusions, and in pain just about everywhere. 

But I’m alive.

I didn’t actually see photos of my car until the next day. Then not in person until I had to go to the impound lot to get my personal items.

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My British Chap saved my life. MINI saved my life again.

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So, in ready conclusion, it is with my whole heart that I say: Thank you, MINI. I would not be here today if it weren’t for your brilliant engineering and attention to safety. There was a reason I was inexorably drawn to your little cars, what, with their bulldog stance and protective snarl. You better believe that as soon as I can physically and psychologically get behind the wheel again, I will be back, yet again, at MINI of Omaha. How could I possibly drive anything else.

Sincerely and loyally yours,

Christina Friis, MINI Owner.

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7 Feb – 16 Feb

I’m seriously resisting February. It was such a shitty, annoying month. These prompts are no different.

February 7th – Right to health:
Is access to medical care something that governments should provide, or is it better left to the private sector? Are there drawbacks to your choice?
I am honestly ignorant in this topic, like most, and as a result, I can’t really answer. People should have medical care when they need it. I think that sums it up. Are there drawbacks to people getting the healthcare they need? Mmm. Now I’m being purposefully mocking. Of course there are drawbacks, as there are to anything. I’m moving on because it’s 530am and I can’t focus on this.

February 8th – Karma chameleon:
Reincarnation: Do you believe in it?
No.

February 9th – Childhood revisited:
Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?
I’m so distracted by the awkward grammar, I … Okay. Yes, I did turn out pretty well. I hate to sound like a spoiled brat, because I’m not – there are plenty of shitty things that I’d not enjoy going through again – however, every single thing that happened in my childhood has helped shape me into the person I am today. The good things, the bad things, the frustrating things, the lovely things. Everything came together like puzzle pieces and although the picture isn’t finished, all the straight edges and corners are in place. 
Oh I see now, the second part of the question wants to know if I have kids now. Well, I don’t, but I could say there are things I will try my hardest to do differently for them because of things I went through or didn’t go through. There are things I want my kids to experience that I wasn’t able to experience and there are things I’ll try to keep them from going through. One thing I always give my parents shit for is letting up on Conor’s phone curfew when they let up on mine, although he’s four years younger. Ya know, stuff like that 😉

February 10th – Teachable moment:
You have to learn a new skill. Do you prefer to read about it, watch someone else do it, hear someone describe it, or try it yourself?
Any time I’ve had to learn something new for work, and probably in general and I’ve just never noticed, I’ve always wanted to have a mix of learning techniques going on. For example, when I started my receptionist job a hundred years ago, I sat with my trainer as she told me about everything she has to do in the course of a shift, she’d point out the different buttons and what they did, in what order she had to push the buttons to page someone or transfer a call, etc; I’d write everything down so that I wouldn’t have to ask again; then I’d sit and watch her do everything for a few hours. After all of that, I’d feel comfortable jumping in. I did the same thing when I started as an escrow officer. At least as a receptionist, I’d seen a telephone before. But ask me where to put the HOA on the HUD and how much to charge for the DOT and I’ll be able to answer you correctly.
If it’s like, putting together a desk or table and chairs from Nebraska Furniture Mart, just give me the directions and walk away.

February 11th – Whoa!:
What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?
Oh, yes. Finally, I have an answer on the tip of my tongue for one of these. Sigh. Most surreal experience – may or may not be the most surreal experience I’ve ever had, but it’s sure as hell dreamlike – was meeting Martin Freeman. Well, not so much ‘meeting,’ since it’s not like we shook hands and introduced ourselves, but meeting nonetheless. 
In London, on North Gower, watching Sherlock being filmed. Already surreal, seeing a couple of my heroes in person and watching them create bits of a television show that has taken over my life. They took a break in filming and were setting up a different camera angle, so they had to have some of us fans shift around. My friends went off to the left and I went off to the right. I went across the side street to a smaller fan area and I think at that moment, I saw Mr Cumberbatch going over to the other side of the street. ‘Fuck,’ I thought. There was no way I was getting back over there. I looked up then and saw Mr Freeman coming over to my side of the street. I was behind a multitude of people, probably about four or five back from the barrier so I thought, again, ‘fuck,’ I’ll never get through. (And I’m not the pushing through the crowd type unless I’m at a concert). As I was giving up, I noticed him going further down my side of the street. The people were thinning out toward that end. Fuck it. It’s now or never. I hope to God I didn’t trot, but I made it quickly to where he was and he was talking to some woman in front of me. She was telling him what a huge fan her daughter was and how hard it can be to be a parent sometimes, or something like that, and Martin listened so intently and held her hand the whole way through her story. As soon as it was wrapping up, I stepped forward with my phone ready on camera-mode and shakily asked, “Martin, could I have a photo please?” (In retrospect, I wish I wouldn’t have been such a clot and called him Mr Freeman instead, ffs). But anyway, he just looked up and smiled and said, “sure, sure!” I kind of scooted next to the barrier that separated us, and held my phone out so that I could line up the shot. I’m fucking shocked that it wasn’t a blurry mess because when I said ‘shakily,’ I meant like, beginning stages of Parkinson’s. So yeah. I said thank you, or at least I hope I did, I don’t know, I was stunned, and he went back to filming. 
Even now, I can’t believe it. I think I texted about ten people and told them what happened. At that point, I’d already met Benedict and I think I’d met Andrew Scott? Either way, Conor was like, “how the fuck does this keep happening?” Oh, um, yeah, those were two other surreal experiences. 

February 12th – All about you:
Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.
Aw yiss. So my blog’s title is ‘Consumed with that which it is nourish’d by’ and it’s from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73. Easy, really: I’m consumed with writing/journaling and I’m nourished by it. I always say that it keeps me sane and I’m not exaggerating in the least. Even earlier tonight, I felt like writing, so I picked up my journal and wrote about four pages of bosh. But it doesn’t matter that it was bosh, because I instantly had clear vision. Sometimes shit gets a bit cloudy, like all of a sudden life is shot through a diffuser. It’s not always a romantic look that the diffuser provides. Usually I’m fairly good at recognizing when that film slips in place and I can wipe it all away with the stroke of a pen. Hot damn.
Got off track. Maybe not really. But yes, that’s what journaling means to me, that’s what my blog title means to me. 

February 13th – Shoulda, woulda, coulda:
Tell us about something you know you should do… but don’t.
You mean besides working out?

February 14th – Cupid’s arrow:
It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!
Oh Christ.
I think if the answer doesn’t automatically come to me…

February 15th – Proud:
When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?
Probably super recently. My parents are always proud of me for some reason or another lol That’s not to say that it has lost its meaning – I am very blessed to have parents that take pride in me and I’m equally as proud to call them my parents. 

February 16th – The clock:
Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.”
This is just screaming for fanfiction. Or maybe I’m screaming for fanfiction. I scream, you scream.
-> She was in her hometown tonight. She’d gone downtown for a drink at her favorite bar. She went alone because she didn’t mind being alone, really. In fact, she usually preferred it.
Unfortunately, tonight there were a few men who kept coming over to talk to her. Theirs was attention she didn’t want. “Look, guys, I’m flattered, but no thanks,” she said, trying to get them away from her as politely as possible.
One of the men didn’t very much like being denied and as he leant in to put his arm around her, her stool tipped to the side. She found herself shoulder to shoulder with the man next to her. She hadn’t paid any attention to anyone all night because she just wanted a goddamn drink in peace.
The man startled and looked down at her. Instantly, they recognized each other. In his lovely English accent, he said, “hello, darling.”
“Thomas, hi,” she answered, strained at the effort of holding herself up against him.
“What, you know this fucking guy?” One of the drunk men asked.
“In fact, she does, gentlemen; so why don’t you bugger off and leave us, eh?” Thomas said to the man.
She cringed. These didn’t look like the type of men to simply ‘bugger off’ when asked. In fact, they weren’t at all.
“What the fuck did you say?”
And that’s when the fight broke out. One of the drunk men raised his fist and wound up to hit Tom. Tom dodged the first one easily enough, but hadn’t seen the second drunk man’s fist coming from the right. His fist collided with Tom’s left cheekbone and he was thrown against the bar. She picked up her beer bottle and performed the biggest cliché she could think of: she broke it against the bartop.
She pointed it at the drunk man who’d swung first and then waved it at the man who’d actually made contact with James.
“When a lady says no, she fucking means no; so unless you guys want to spend the night in the ICU, why don’t you fuck off already?” she shouted.
The man closest to her started to laugh, so she stopped forward and brought the jagged bottle closer to his face. “By the way, I know the nurse on-call, so I can make sure you get the best care.”
The man put his hands up in surrender, seeing how serious she was. “Alright, alright, fuck.” They stumbled away.
She put the bottle on the bar and put up her hand to the bartender who was about to tell her to hit the road. “I know, I know.”
She looked at Thomas, who had been staring at her with his wide eyes, made even wider by her actions. “Blimey! Remind me not to fuck with you.”
“Goddamn right.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the exit. At the end of the bar, she spied a glass of ice, so she checked for the bartender and then took the glass.
Outside the bar, she held the glass of ice to Thomas’s cheekbone. “Here,” she said, “hold this.”
He exclaimed as the glass touched his face. “Jesus!”
“We should probably get moving in case those assholes decide to leave, or more likely, get themselves thrown out,” she offered.
“Right.” He answered as they started down the sidewalk.
“My car’s in the parking garage just a block over,” she said, digging in her purse for her keys. He answered again, “right.”
Once they found her car, he set the glass of melted ice on the barrier. “No,” she said, “take that. I’ll wash it.” He gave her a look as she got in the driver’s seat. “What? It’s a free glass,” she said with a wink.
Fortunately, it was still early in the evening, so maneuvering out of the parking garage was a breeze. Once she’d gotten them out and away from downtown, she asked him what hotel he was staying at.
“Um, the Marriott,” he answered quietly.
Not responding to his answer, she asked another question. “What are you doing here, anyway?” She cringed at her approach and immediately felt bad. He had taken a punch for her after all.
“I, um, well, I was here for an assignment. A project.” So he hadn’t scaled down after all. She wondered if that meant- “So yeah, as I’m sure you’re thinking, I’m divorced.” He looked down at the lighter line of skin on his left ring finger.
She let out a breath. Yikes. “I’m so sorry, Thomas. I didn’t- She didn’t-“
“No,” he said, “after you left me that night, I stood there staring out at nothing for ages. I felt like as soon as I moved from that spot, I’d have to make a decision. And I didn’t want to. I wanted to go after you, to be honest.”
She sucked in a breath at that. She remembered thinking she wished he would have. She kept preparing herself to be grabbed by the arm and spun around by him. It never happened and she never looked back.
“But I knew I couldn’t do that. I could have made things so much worse for myself by doing that, um, no offense- I mean, I hope you understand what I-“
“Of course,” she cut him off. “No, the last thing you should have done was come after me,” she admitted. Sealing her lips, she focused on the drive.
“I finally decided to just call her right there, so I didn’t have to move.” He made a sad sounding chuckle. “I tried to tell her that I could cut back on what I was doing and still be there for her and the boys, but she was so tired of it all by then… She had already made up her mind.” He sighed and rubbed at his eyes, flinching a bit, forgetting about his sore cheek.
She didn’t know what to say. It was just as well, as she pulled up to the entrance of the hotel.
“Well,” she started. As she was taking a breath to start again, he interrupted her.
“Stay with me.” It wasn’t a question. Not really a command.
Without a word, she put her car back in drive and pulled away toward the hotel’s parking lot.
She knew it would be only once. Just as it would have been before. This would never work as anything. But it would kill her to leave in the morning all the same.
She found a spot relatively close to the front door and grabbed her purse out of the back seat.
He met her behind her car and took her hand. She appreciated the gesture and smiled at him. She hoped he wouldn’t be able to read in her face what was really going on in her mind.
They made their way through the lobby to the bank of elevators. She was hoping his room was on a high floor so that she could look out over her city. It might help ground her.
He was. He motioned for her to exit the elevator first and then followed, grabbing her hand again in pursuit of his room. She was sick to her stomach when they reached his door. She almost hoped his key wouldn’t work so she could run.
It worked. She couldn’t deny that she wanted this, and he was divorced now, but it still felt entirely stupid. She’d do it anyway.
His room was fairly large. A nice room. A king-sized bed. The bed where, she couldn’t help but anticipate, a huge mistake was about to be made.
“I think I’ll, um,” she began, “I’m going to use the restroom.” With that, she stepped in and locked the door behind her.
Fuck. She thought. What the fuck am I doing? I always think I know what I’m doing and then I end up in these goddamn situations. She let out a breath. Her eyes caught her reflection in the mirror. She looked good, but she looked how she felt: conflicted. She listened for clues in the room. She didn’t hear anything. Surprised she didn’t hear a belt buckle or a boot dropping to the floor.
I mean, I don’t have to do this, she thought. It’s not like I’m obligated, and I’m sure he’s not the kind to force me into something. She squeezed her eyes shut and took another deep breath.
I’ll just tell him I can’t. I’m so glad I drove us here and not to my apartment.
She took one last deep breath and gripped the door handle. I can do this. I can tell him I can’t do this.
She opened the door slowly and listened again. She couldn’t hear anything. She practically tiptoed out of the restroom and around the corner. Then she saw him.
Passed out on top of the comforter, Thomas was fully clothed.
She had to stifle a laugh now. All of that for nothing. He must have been a bit more intoxicated than she noticed. Either that or he hid it well.
She went over to him and sat down beside him. She brushed his bangs off of his forehead. He stirred a little.
“Hey,” she whispered. He moaned a sleepy response.
She made to take off his boots. He tried to help by pushing his toes against the other foot’s heel, but his toes kept slipping off of the leathery boot.
“Stop it,” she giggled, “just let me fuckin’ do it.” He moaned another sleepy response.
Once she’d gotten his boots off, she put them at the end of the bed and decided against wrestling the comforter from underneath him. Luckily, there was a spare blanket in the closet. She covered him up to his chin and tucked the end of the blanket under his feet.
She stood and looked at him for a minute or two, secretly thankful for the decision she didn’t have to make. Again, he’d taken a blow for her. She bent over and brushed her lips against his forehead. He was completely out now.
Noticing the standard notepad and pen on the nightstand, she picked both up and went to the little desk by the television.
What do I even say? “Thomas,” she started. She froze for a moment before putting the pen down and quietly ripping the sheet from the pad. She tore it up and put it in the bin. She sighed.
She turned around to look at him. He had grabbed the blanket and pulled it tightly against him. He looked like such a child.
She stared at the notepad. She should thank him for defending her against that asshole at the bar. She should tell him again how sorry she is for his marriage falling apart. She should apologize for not being there in the morning.
“Talk soon,” she wrote.
She signed her name and put the pen down. She got up and went to the window overlooking downtown. She heard a car door slam and immediately looked at the clock. Jesus, she’d been standing there for twenty minutes. It was time to go.
“Goodnight,” she whispered. 

I’m a Bear

I just realized, with great glee, that I’ve essentially been hibernating for the past six months. If only I’d been feeding off of my body’s fat stores instead of continuously (and overly) replenishing them.

It’s getting to be about that time where I regret being a slug, but then, there’s really no point in that. It’s all I’ve wanted to do since getting my first job ten years ago.

I do have quite the motivation to lose about eight pounds this month, however: ComiCon in Sydney, Australia. I’ll be cosplaying a Midwesterner.

What I’m really excited about, though, is seeing my Aussie twins. It’s funny – I think it was even before this con came up, I was thinking about saying goodbye to the both of them at Paddington Station and just wishing the tube train was empty so I could cry afterward with minimal-to-no stares. Interesting how quickly and naturally we became friends – both in a country that was not our own, both there for different reasons, but both there for essentially the same duration. No coincidence that we met on my first night at the same ‘event.’

Actually, that’s what I’d like to tell Mr Cumberbatch, if ever the opportunity arises: Thank you for allowing complete strangers and mostly complete amateurs to be involved in a project that meant so much to you. If you hadn’t, I never would have met Jen, which means I never would have met Janine, which means I never would have met Geny or Shannon or any of the other gals. My London trip as a whole would have been a totally different experience and not one I’d care to think about, to be honest.

*shudder* Ugh. Yeah. Wow, I never even dared to go there until just now. What would it have been like had I not done Little Favour that first night. Or maybe I did, but wasn’t in the wrong right area, causing Jen to ask me, “are you here for Little Favour?” There’s just so much I never would have done or wouldn’t have gotten to do. I didn’t plan on knowing anyone over there, but as per, my plan is not the one in play.

So, I am ready to begin the waking process. Something Jen said, while we were discussing my potential trip across the Pacific, really stuck with me: something like, ‘I think it’ll cheer you up more than you know.’ Until she said that, I didn’t think I needed cheering up. I didn’t really think I was down. I knew I was apprehensive about air travel, I was discouraged about not finding a job, I found a great house and couldn’t buy it because I don’t have a job, I’m sick of my neighbors, blah blah blah blah. But, when she said that to me, it all seemed to click.

Traveling to Oz will help me get over my fear of being turned away at the border, unless I’m turned away at the border, it’ll get me out of Nebraska for a bit, which means it’ll get my mind out of Nebraska for a bit, I’ll get to see Jen and Janine, we’ll get to do some Sherlock stuff, I’ll see the beach, and hello, I’ll see a country I’ve never seen but one I’ve always wanted to visit.

She’s right. It will cheer me up more than I know. It’ll cheer me up even though I didn’t know I needed cheering up. I’ve been in my cozy, little cave for six months and it’s time for some fresh air.

Healing

I met with the appraiser on Friday and he told me my MINI was totaled. I had expected that, of course. He was really nice and actually knows the bodyshop guy who’s taken care of my car before. He said he was going to put a rush on the review and I should be hearing something within a few days. Then I can have my car towed away.

I said to dad how pissed off I was about the car. He tried, in his way, to tell me not to be so upset about material things because they’re fleeting in this life. I completely understand that, and I wouldn’t have given a shit if my couches burnt to the ground or if my desk cracked in two. Well, okay, I’d give a shit because it would be an annoyance and I’d have to replace them; however, my MINI is a bit different. In any case, I had hurt feelings.

On the way home, as I approached my exit, I realized I didn’t want to stop. So, I kept on. I continued on Highway 6, onto 275 West, through Fremont, and onto Highway 30. I drove until I hit Columbus, Nebraska – about an hour and fifteen minutes away. I stopped at a laundromat/convenience store called Dickie Doodles and got an iced coffee, took photos of a 1959-ish Stageway Airport Limo, and, much calmer, headed home the same way I came.

The drive was so incredibly needed, I don’t even know how to express it. I had my music up, I sang poorly, I shed a few tears, and by the time I got to Columbus, I had exhausted all the negative energy I’d unknowingly kept pent up. Driving has always been a comfort to me, so there was nothing smarter for me to do after the accident.

I was even shocked at my calmness on two occasions during the trip: Once, I was trying to pass a semi with attached trailer going a few under the speed limit, and for the life of me, I couldn’t see around it. Finally, I thought I had a clear, so I kicked the alright-so-far Mazda 2 into passing gear and got about halfway past the trailer when I realized there was no way in hell I’d make it before this oncoming car smashed into me. I had to abort the mission and regrettably get back behind the semi. No problem.

The next instance was on my way home from Columbus, Highway 30 splits into a four-lane just outside of town. I was behind a car who was staying right as the split happened, so I stayed left as to stay in the passing lane. Up ahead I see a pickup coming toward me in my lane. Yeah, in oncoming traffic, and yeah, right for me. I simply moved over into the ‘slow lane’ and watched the truck go by, apparently completely unaware that it was driving on the wrong side of the road.

I wondered, then, if there is a hit out for me. First the accident, now this pickup. I’ll gladly stay off the highways for a while, if that’s the case.

Now that I’m mostly past the grief and anger part of post-accident recovery, I have come to a few conclusions:

My beloved 2013 MINI Cooper Hardtop Baker Street Limited Edition is lost. Unrecoverable. More importantly, irreplaceable. Sure, I could look for one in the US or even order another from Oxford, but I decided that I don’t want to do any of that. It was my perfect little gem of a car and one just like it won’t make me feel quite like this one did. Does, when I think of it. I went ’round dad’s Saturday to clean out the poor girl and after dad apologized, in his way, for hurting my feelings (he handed me ceramic owl salt and pepper shakers, saying, “I don’t give two hoots about your car, but I do give two hoots about you”), I told him that as extreme as this may sound, I liken getting a replica of my car to getting another Border Collie after we had to put Frisbee to sleep. There will never be another Frisbee no matter how many dogs I own in my lifetime, similar to how there will never be another Baker Street.

Like I said, it may sound extreme, but that should put into perspective how much that car meant means to me. It was one of a kind, to me; a one-off. So it’ll be my Only One.

Dad understood after that.

Because I feel that way and because I have come to the conclusion that not only would it be difficult to replace it, but that I don’t want to replace it, I’m going to get something different entirely.

Well, still a MINI, of course; how could I possibly own anything else?

But, I’m thinking a MINI Clubman. I know I was mostly alone in that I loved the barn doors, but I’m used to being the solitary member of many clubs (ahem, John Watson’s Mournstache in Sherlock Season Three). It’s different enough, it’s still MINI-sized, but has more cargo space, and it has some fantastic customizations (which are paramount, in my opinion). So when the time comes, a Clubman it is.

In other news, I may have found the house. I know I’ve gone on about whether or not I should buy a house when I hope to be moving soon, but who the hell knows when that’ll be. Plus, if I do end up having to move shortly after buying this house, it’s a good enough re-sale/rental opportunity, that it would almost be stupid not to buy it. I’m tired of renting, it’s getting pointless to rent, and my neighbors are annoying AF. Not much cop, this renting lark.

This house is seriously perfect for me. I know the owner, she designed it and built it herself five years ago, she turned the third bedroom upstairs into a closet – hello; and it’s seriously two minutes from my apartment, so it would be the easiest move ever.

Mom, dad, and Conor are going to come look at it tomorrow. Conor might love it enough that he’d rent it if I had to move. I think I need to do this. It’ll be a tax write-off, it’ll build equity; I’m not sure why I’m trying to convince anyone because I’m completely convinced, anyway.

I have a feeling I’m going to get into this house and then get a job offer simply because I love the house. I wouldn’t complain. Much.

Surprisingly, Okay

Lately, I think I’ve been stressing (mildly, I admit) about how it’s been since September I’ve been back now and I still haven’t found a job. I keep thinking it’s because I’m not physically ready – as in, in shape, and that’s partially true. However, it’s also incredibly mental. As in, intellectually/psychologically. 

In this time of being, not only completely jobless, but completely single, I’ve obviously had ample time to myself. Time to laze about, time to think, time to suss out what I truly want in many different aspects of my life, but more importantly, if not most importantly, I’ve had time to learn

Not only learning facts and information about the world, but things about myself. 

I feel like the lesson is done once you’ve learned it. I learned an exponential amount about myself, culture, others, etc while I was in London, but that came to an end unfortunately. I learned valuable educational information from my masters program, but that came to an end, thank God

I felt myself in a state of flux, again, being done with my masters, but not having a job. I was not, and I’m still not, driven to take up a job just for the sake of it. I want my next job to be something I wholeheartedly desire, from which I can grow over the years, and maintain as a career. (I know it’s a lot to ask as a baby). I still want that. But during a rather luxurious shower this morning at sun-up, I realized something that brought a sob of relief out of me:

This time has not been wasted in the least.

I can’t even put a quantity on how much I’ve learned since I’ve had nothing doing. No wonder I’ve never been bored. No wonder I’m not itching to get a job to pass the time. This entire time, I’ve been absorbing vast amounts of knowledge. And sometimes food.

I’ve read so much that I had to get eye drops for the deserts that had become my orbital sockets. I’ve watched so many documentaries and biopics and have been able to hold the most brilliant discussions with friends. I’ve not even gotten started with all the meta-analysis on Sherlock, but  boy, what I’ve done so far makes me salivate. I’ve had my poor, dry eyes opened on so many occasions in the past four-ish months. I never stopped my quest for wisdom, I’ve been on it all along. 

It’s been entirely fulfilling and rewarding. I’ve been spending such wonderful time with my parents, my brother, and consumed a mass amount of tea (and coffee). I’ve Brit-binged thanks to BBC America and Netflix. I’ve applied for about fifty jobs since October. I’ve even been able to get a feel for the housing market in LA (not as bad as I imagined), Manhattan (half a mil for a studio?!), and, because I’m a bit of a masochist, London (sorry, what per week?!). I’ll be prepared when I get that call.

I have the brightest goddamn outlook for myself, it may err on the side of fantastical. 

But that’s okay.

It’s easy, well, sometimes, anyway, to look back on a situation or time of your life and think, ah, that’s why I had to endure that: I learned __________. Hindsight is usually 20/20, as they say. I seem to have House-epiphanied my reason for this time in my life, which simultaneously thrills me and frightens me. 

Does that mean it’s over? Or close to being over? Lesson-mostly-learned, right?

Until I know for certain, I’ll keep on this path. It’s not one I’m looking forward to leaving, but I know the next turn will be an exciting one.

Well, Now I Know How Anderson Felt

Went out about 10pm looking for the Entertainment Weekly issue featuring BBC’s Sherlock.

Sherlock scarf

Walgreens on 200th and Maple was closed.

Sherlock sheet

Went to Wal-Mart on 170-something and Maple.

Sherlock shezza

Went to Baker’s on 156th and Dodge.

Sherlock sad

Thought for sure HyVee on 156th and Maple would be my saving grace.

Sherlock angry

CVS on 144th and Maple, surely.
Hey, do you guys carry Entertainment Weekly?

Sherlock nope

“Sorry about that, have a nice night.”

Sherlock smile to not

Okay… Walgreens on 132nd and Maple.
IS THAT IT ON THE RACK??

Sherlock gasp

No. It’s January’s issue.

Sherlock cry

You know… if I could just find this issue…

Sherlock lovely

What I feel like doing now:

Sherlock fall

What I would have done had I found it:

Sherlock kiss

What I need now (besides the issue):

Sherlock hug

Is it okay?

John no it's not

Lestrade not really

What everyone reading this is probably doing:

Sherlock stare

Reinforcement

I don’t always read my horoscope, but when I do…

Scorpio
“As the month opens, the many home decisions you need to make will be on your mind, thanks to the new moon that just appeared on January 30th. Whether the focus is a new space, new decor, or a new roommate, you won’t have much time to sort it out, as Uranus, a planet of unexpected events, will partner with this moon. Further, by the full moon on the 14th [of February], career will take center stage, with your profile set to rise when Mars, one of Scorpio’s rulers, works hard for you behind the scenes. With so much professional excitement, your real Valentine’s Day may have to come later in the month, when you see your best romantic developments at the 28th’s new moon…”
– ELLE Magazine, February 2014

So. Interestingly or not, like I’ve been moaning about, I’ve got all of these decisions to make regarding where I live: am I going to bite the bullet and get a place here? am I going to continue to rent my apartment? will I be looking for a place in New York or elsewhere? What the hell am I supposed to do?

I’m hoping the “unexpected events” will mean a job interview/offer, and therefore, unexpected traveling. I’ll be in Toronto over the 28th, when I’m apparently supposed to meet a love interest. Who the hell knows about that.

HOWEVER, I seem to be happening upon quite a few things lately that are reinforcing my intuition and encouraging me to stay close to the path I’m on. 

As they said in Sherlock ‘The Sign of Three’:
Mycroft: What do we say about coincidence?
Sherlock: The universe is rarely so lazy.

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