One day at the beginning of this year (2016), I was looking out the window at my “purrrty cat”, trying to decide whether to sell it as is, or whether to restore and keep it, which I knew might cost several thousand dollars.
It had been sitting there for a while because the transmission went out and, at the time, I didn’t have the four to five thousand dollars they estimated it would cost to fix it.
THE DILEMMA: KEEP IT OR LET IT GO
It’s a 1998, X-K8, so it’s an old car and I knew other things could go wrong with it too. Also, I make average income so it could be a real burden to me, financially.
But I have a sentimental attachment to the car which made it hard for me to let go.
When I was 16, I was riding in a car with my Dad, one day, when I spotted a Jaguar (XKE, at the time) on a used car lot. I thought it was the coolest car I had ever seen. I asked Dad if we could stop and take a closer look at it.
He stopped the car and I rushed over to it. It was black and it was beautiful and there were sparkling water beads sitting proudly all over it from an earlier thunderstorm.
(I added this picture of my jag today just to simulate the way it looked to me that day. )
I’d never gotten so excited about a car before but there was something so special about it that really moved me.
I looked up at Dad’s smiling face and desperately burst out, “Do you think I could have it?” (Translation: “Would you buy it for me, Dad?”).
The price tag shouted $6666.00. (No!….it screamed $6666.00).
That was 1966. That was expensive back then.
My Dad looked at me, grinned slightly and said, “You have expensive taste. You better make lots of money.”
That was my Dad’s gentle way of saying no, to let me down easy.
But even as I asked him the question, I knew the answer and I felt a little ashamed for even asking. I think we were middle or lower-middle class and I knew not to expect such things. Dad and Mom worked hard and always gave us much more than enough.
My sister, Colleen, and I talk about those days and how we always felt like we had a lot. We never felt deprived. We were rich in a lot of other ways.
I loved Dad for his caring and kindness and for his thoughtful response to my irreverent, selfish request that day.
Nevertheless, I never stopped dreaming about having that car someday. It became my dream car.
Five years later, when I was about 21, I had a dream about the car. It was a very short dream. Really, only one scene, and then it ended abruptly and I woke up and lay thinking about it for awhile.
In the dream, I was driving an XKE. Sitting beside me was a beautiful woman who I had never seen before in real life. But in my dream, I felt like there was no other woman in the world who could capture my heart as she did. She had a gentle demeanor, a peaceful aura and a quiet self-confidence.
She briefly glanced at me with a subtle but compelling look of love for me in her eyes. And then….poof!… the dream was over and she was gone.
It’s funny, I knew it was just a dream. But I wanted it to be real. I wanted a woman like that in real life. I wondered if there really was someone like that out there for me in my future.
Then 15 years later, around 1987, I was in South Korea working for the Air Force as a Korean translator. I was a single parent with two young boys, Jes and Tim.
We were watching a movie called “The Golden Child”, starring Eddie Murphy.
In the movie, there was a beautiful actress of Chilean and Iraqi descent, Charlotte Lewis, who played his love interest.
There was a scene on an airplane where Eddie is listening on headsets to some Tibetan (I assume) music and is singing along with it. But he doesn’t realize how loud he is and how many other passengers are staring at him.
(Photo source: http://www.jaredmobarak.com/2014/08/09/the-golden-child/)
But she is not embarrassed at all. She doesn’t try to quiet him down. Instead, with a slight grin, she lovingly glances over at him, and then continues to eat the food on the tray in front of her.
At that very moment in the movie, her beauty, elegance, poise and self-confidence reminded me of the woman I dreamed about in my early 20’s. Her hair was the same. But her face wasn’t exactly the same as the face of the woman in my dream. But it was her subtlety of expression and the loving way she looked at Eddie that reminded me of the way my dream girl looked at me.
DREAM CAR BECOMES REALITY
Then, 18 years later, in 2005, I was driving around one day in my dependable old beater truck and, by chance, I spotted a newer version (X-K8) of my dream car (XKE).
It had been a while since I thought about my dream car. There had been so many other priorities all those years I had almost forgotten about my desire to have one.
But it got my attention that day. It wasn’t black, but it was beautiful. It was “British-racing green”, as they say, and even though it was eight years old at the time, I thought it looked fairly new and it was affordable. So I got it! I finally had my dream car.
The thing I love about it the most is the way the body curves! So smooth, so sleek, so subtle, and so graceful.
I was so thrilled to finally have it, yet, for some reason I felt guilty for splurging on myself. At that time in my life, I was single and not in a relationship so it really didn’t matter one way or the other. I had no one depending on me, but somehow I felt guilty. I think it was all those years of denying myself.
I didn’t even tell my boys I bought it for a few days. One day Jes saw it in the parking lot of the apartment complex where we were living and he made a comment about the car as we passed it and I said, “That’s my car, Jes.” After he finally realized I wasn’t kidding, he said, “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen you buy for yourself!”
TRANSMISSION ON THE JAG BREAKS DOWN
So, for several years I enjoyed driving around Seattle in my Jag, and I took a few road trips to Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Reno, Nevada; Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, Monterey, Sacramento, Mendocino, Eureka, and Crescent City, California; and all around the Olympic Peninsula, and the Cascades, in Washington.
But one day, the transmission konked out. So I parked the Jag and drove my truck again, while I debated whether or not to keep it.
So fast forward to August, 2014. That’s when I began this website.
And in September, 2014, I learned about Lizz.
When I heard her singing, “Reaching For The Moon”, I was inexplicably drawn to her voice. I had to know more about her. So I watched her youtube videos, NPR archived interviews, all the songs on her CD’s, and her FB page.
I saw so many admirable qualities in her. She had beauty, elegance, poise, thoughtful demeanor, intelligence, faith in God, focus, warmth, and the ability to balance between the spiritual and human sides of her nature.
One day when I was watching some of her youtube videos, I saw her singing with Dianne Reeves, and Lisa Simone. The three of them were singing Nina Simone’s song called, “Four Women”.
(music video source is from a video by EdTheFlyingDutchman) .
Toward the end of the video, when Dianne sang the phrase that says, “…cause my parents were slaves…”, the camera shows a close up of Lizz. In that close up she winced slightly and then pursed her lips.
At that moment, that subtlety of expression on Lizz’s face, again, reminded me of the subtle expression on the face of the girl in my dream.
It was a deja vu moment for me and the similarity to the dream girl just added to the affinity I already felt for Lizz through her voice and music.
So for nearly two years now, I’ve blogged about my travel experiences in many of the posts on this web site.
Things have been going great. I have been enjoying my life. I went to several places I’d never been before. And I can’t describe the simple joy I always get from seeing and hearing Lizz sing.
So after I got back from Atlanta, Georgia, and I had finished the post about that weekend (Weekend in Atlanta, Georgia) and hit “publish”, in March, I turned my attention back to my purrrty cat and I proclaimed to myself, “Stop Procrastinating! Make the decision about the Jag now!”
As fate would have it, the decision was made for me. The dependable and very useful beater truck I had driven for a long time, broke down. The engine couldn’t be fixed. It had to be replaced. So I decided to sell it for parts and I had the Jag towed to a shop to get the transmission fixed, finally.
They fixed it and soon I was back in the Jag, driving around Seattle. It felt good. So I thought I’d like to do a road trip. I hadn’t done one for along while.
After I got back from Atlanta, I had already made reservations to go to Santa Cruz; San Francisco; Ontario, Canada and Cheltenham, England, to continue to travel and to see and hear Lizz sing.
So I decided to drive to California in the Jag, instead of flying.
I wanted to see Andy, my best friend; drive along a segment of Hwy 1 along the coast; have lunch or dinner in Monterey (where I studied Korean for three years and taught Korean for two and one-half years at the Defense Language Institute). And best of all, I could see and hear Lizz sing again, in Santa Cruz and San Francisco.
MORE JAG ISSUES
However, the very day before I was going to drive down to Santa Cruz, the Jag broke down. They said the repair would cost about $2326.
So I had to cancel my reservations in SantaCruz and San Francisco. I was really bummed out about it.
Then within the next few weeks it broke down again, and again, and again, for a total of seven times, costing me several thousands of dollars.
So since then, I have been working 60 hours a week, every week, to make extra to recover from the debt as quickly as possible.
So I knew then that I had to cancel the reservations for Ontario and Cheltenham and I realized I might not be able to travel for quite some time. So I was bummed out, times seven.
I really miss traveling and I came to realize I don’t just want to hear Lizz, I need to hear her.
There’s something in the nature of her voice that touches me deeply and moves me like no other voice can. And she has a certain aura that is magical and it captures my attention, imagination and admiration.
I’ll always be a big fan. I come with a life time guarantee.
So during March and April, I was so preoccupied with the Jag repairs, the cost of it all, and working overtime, I didn’t feel free to blog.
For those of you who have kept checking in, I’m sorry to keep you waiting so long. But I never thought the Jag would break down so many times in such a short time. It was so all-consuming. I was doubting whether or not keeping the Jag was a good idea.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, someone broke into my house in May, ransacked the place and stole several things.
He (the police caught him) took my laptop, two cameras, two checkbooks, and a spare key to the Jaguar. So then I didn’t have a computer to do my posts for a while.
I had to:
1) Re-key the car (so he wouldn’t be able to come back and steal the Jag during the night.
2) Cancel my bank account.
3) Open a new bank account.
4) Change all my passwords.
5) Buy a new laptop.
6) Buy a new camera.
7) Change the locks on the doors.
8) Add locks to the windows.
9) Install an alarm system.
10) Add motion sensor lighting.
Of course, all the things he took can be replaced, over time.
But the worst part was losing a big portion of photos and video clips of my family, friends, my little granddaughter Evie, my travels, and videos and photos from Lizz concerts that were on my lap top.
I hadn’t backed it up for a while. All my life, I never experienced any break-ins in any house I ever lived in, so I didn’t expect this. I should have been more diligent.
All those things can’t be replaced.
So because of his irreverence and disrespectful behavior, I incurred even more loss and expense (on top of the Jag repair costs I was already dealing with).
I also noticed I felt paranoid about entering and exiting the house for the next three or four weeks.
Of course, I realize there are so many worse things that could have happened. And there are many other people in the world suffering so much more. We see examples of this every day in the news: police brutality, Isis suicide bombers, snipers killing innocent people, kids starving, human trafficking, and the list goes on and on.
So I’m not whining or looking for sympathy. My current problems are not something you shed tears over.
So in that context, I’m “WEEPLESS IN SEATTLE“, but I’m still bummed out about it, nevertheless.
THE GOLDEN RULE
I always think that we need more of the “Golden Rule” in this world. (It’s found in Matthew 7:12, and Luke 6:31, in the Bible.)
We need to be more reverent and respectful in all things we do and in our interaction with others.
Reverence and respect are built-in to the notion of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you,” if we all would just practice it.
It’s a Universal action anyone and everyone can choose to follow, no matter their ethnicity, beliefs, religion, culture, status, etc., in order to make this a better world to live in.
But each person has to recognize the value in the Golden Rule and then choose to follow it and check their egos at the door.
It seems so simple to me, yet so many people choose to ignore it.
Now that is something to weep about.