When I go home to Wisconsin to visit my family, I've noticed that the Amtrak train magically puts me in a time warp once I board at Union Station and I exit the train as a 16-year-old again. This is not always a bad thing, but there are a few teenage memories I would prefer not to relive.
The major issue I have when I go home is: the car. I don't have one in Chicago because a) I don't need it and b) right now I couldn't afford it between gas and parking so I happily walk, bus or El just about everywhere I go. I rarely ever take cabs and when I do, it's a treat. This is why I look forward to going home because I get to DRIVE. I love driving, singing to the radio, driving on the freeway, parking, you name it! Sometimes I fear that I'll forgot how to drive when I haven't been home in a while but it's just like riding a really big bike :)
My dad is great about basically handing over his car to me after he picks me up from the train station. The car and a full tank of gas is pretty much at my disposal. Awesome! I always return it with at least three-quarters of a tank and try to leave him a couple of bucks to contribute to the refill, but that doesn't always happen.
The only drawback about having to rely on my dad's car when I go home is when it's not as available as I want it to be. There have been a few occasions when the stars align and somehow everyone needs to use their individual cars at my house, thus leaving me to beg for rides or sit around and wait for people to come back with cars so that I can leave. I look like a little lost kitten in the window, pawing at the glass, asking when I can go out to play.
There is nothing more demeaning at the age of 28 than begging your dad to borrow the car for the night. Usually when I say, "dad can I have the car, PLEASE," his automatic response is "where are you going?" followed by "what time will you be back?" I usually shuffle my feet and come up with a half-correct answer but then he'll sometimes say, "well if you don't want to tell me, then you can wait or I'll come with you." Most of the time it's okay if he comes with me (no I'm not going to the sex store or to cruise for guys) but when you're home and in a three bedroom house stuffed with people, I need me time alone and I don't want company. Plus why do I have to actually tell him. Come on, just give me the keys, it'll come back with me in one piece!
The other way I get the car when the stars align so unholy against me is if I take dad somewhere to meet his golf buddies on the weekends they spend the day at the course. Of course the drawback to this is that I have to take him to meet the guys at some ungodly hour of the morning on the weekend (around 5:30/6 a.m.) and promptly have to pick him up at 2:30/3 p.m. that afternoon when he's done. Sometimes that just seems like too much work so I spend time hiding in my house so that I don't get picked to do yard work or garden while he's gone. Thank goodness for Lulu and Wi-Fi at our house because they have kept my stepmom from finding me! Another benefit to being petite.
Ah to be 28 going on 16 again those weekends. I wonder what other painful teenage memories I can relive when I go home? Hopefully not the whole being-caught-by-your-parents-while-making-out-with-a-guy bit. No thank you.
Also, one week from today, from right now, I will be in San Francisco for BlogHer and I cannot wait! Counting down the days to California sun and bloggy goodness.