The silver sedan lunged from the alley and slammed into Laverne’s flank. Laverne, my 2003 Buick Century earned her name through her appearance and her previous owner. This tan, boat-ride of comfort looked like she belonged to my grandmother. The name “Shirley” was scrawled just above mine on the Buick’s pink slip of possession. This T-bone landed Laverne in her automobile grave. Rest in Peace, Laverne.
Laverne guzzled gas and drove like a load of bricks. Perhaps it was her big ass booty of a trunk space. It may have been the emotional baggage that I’d piled into the backseat. My ex boyfriend bought Laverne to replace Sparticus, the silver corolla he totaled in a drunk driving accident. Intriguingly, Sparticus also died in a t-bone. Laverne arrived and departed in matching crescendos of crumpled hoods and crushed in car doors.
She served me well. She bottomed out on Mexico dirt roads, carted me between yoga classes, stimulated oodles of laughter, and housed myself and my possessions for a grand total of seven months when I stubbornly insisted that I didn’t need (or on some level deserve) modern shelter. She symbolized hand picked struggles: alcoholic boyfriends, insistent scrappiness, and settling for a gas guzzling low-rider when what I really crave is adventure and novelty that’s both sustainable and kind.
The silver sedan rocked me physically and psychologically. This spurred what I’ve now pet-named a “Spontaneous Exorcism.” A spontaneous exorcism is when something truly shitty occurs. This shittiness may be an actual catalytic event, such as a metaphorical torpedo hurling towards you or a collision with fate. On the other hand, it may be an inexplicable emotional eruption. It’s when the words “I’m fine.” can no longer be mustered and give way to explosive outrage or full body sobbing done bent over at the waist or in the fetal position. In the first phase of a spontaneous exorcism, you can’t for the love of William Shatner put your snot wiping finger on why this emotion or circumstance is happening to you.
That’s the spontaneous element. It flies out of nowhere. It strikes you square in your passion pumping heart, or in the passenger door of your own personal Buick.
Then comes the exorcism. Then comes comprehension. Then comes insight, as though someone’s shattered the mirror in which you’ve been gazing, exposing a world that’s only visible when you cease to stare at the fixed image of self. An exorcism is AMAZING! It’s a waterfall of clarity. It's relief like cool water on an infuriatingly steamy afternoon.
In the tale of Laverne, magic appeared where my shattered image once lived. The motorist who struck my side door did something outrageous. She spoke with unflinching honesty in the face of consequence. Her insurance paid for the remains of Laverne. My parents expressed willingness to supply aid if I chose to use it. A travel excursion fell through. Time and incentive to car shop was readily available. I realized. Insurance can be awesome. Love is a valuable resource. Help is available. Some people choose to be honest. Time and motivation appear when I most need it. I don’t have to cling to Buicks bought by ex-boyfriends until the steering wheel is pried from my fingers. Miraculous serendipity seeps out of most every apparent disaster, if I can peel my gaze away from my own rigid reflection.
Oh, Laverne! I miss laughing at your big ass booty and seeing a geriatric in the driver’s seat of one of your siblings. I miss your humor. I cherish our time together and the crescendo that solidified my comprehension of the medicinal powers of Spontaneous Exorcisms.