A Womb of One's Own
By M.E. Mishcon
Sometimes there is no place to go. The bathroom is usually occupied and, when not, requires cleaning. Both the living room and the study are, historically, chock-a-block with everything from Brio trains to legal pads stacked Jenga style. Humans, both large and small, vie for hegemony over the remote control. The kitchen must be avoided since, being there, means that you will end up cooking, eating, or both. This leaves the misnamed, master bedroom or the correctly dubbed, basement. Naturally, you try the former and end up thinking of changing the sheets or re-plastering. The basement is where the washer and dryer live and you know exactly what that means.
Leaving the house altogether seems a good idea. It is, after all, that time of year cavalierly deemed, ‘spring’, but in The Berkshires ‘spring’ is actually winter shoulder season. The heavens are lavishing precipitation that is neither rain, nor sleet, snow, nor ice, but a brutal amalgam morphing from drops to flakes to slivers to shivs.
Although actual motoring is ill advised, you head for the garage, climb into the car, close the door with a satisfying thwack. Sitting inside, you notice that it is no longer suffused with that intoxicating, hopeful new car smell. The surfaces are cold, upholstery stiff. There is something metallic, unyielding, and irrelevant in an automobile that is going nowhere. After a moment, it feels melodramatic to be sitting in a parked vehicle in an enclosure without any plan to kill yourself. It makes you seem depressed and you are not depressed...exactly. You simply want a moment. One that belongs to just you, to catch your breath, to think as ‘they’ say.
You do need to think without all the noise created by the presence of the needs, wants, insistence of all of the mechanisms of life, human and otherwise, whirring about. You need a place to go that will not require more work than originally planned for the afternoon.
You are seeking a spot, not to hide, but to be yourself, pure as the precipitation that is falling outside. It did not have to decide to be rain or snow. You do not wish to declare yourself either. After a while you realize that no one is going to wonder where you are and come out to the garage and find you in the car. What a relief... and annoyance. How dare they all not miss you! What luck they have not found you! The ‘They’ are always there.
The air in the car becomes warmer from your own body. The windows fog up. You are in your own retreat, yurt, cave, lodge. You can allow yourself a bit of wistful thinking. You can lock a door, say your old lover's name out loud, sing a camp song, recite a poem you memorized in elementary school about a Gingham Dog and Calico Cat. You can feel a little sad, a little joyful, a little silly, weird, entitled. You can be snow and rain and ice all at the same time. You have found a womb of your own from which you can be re-booted and re-born.
Turns out, it was parked in the garage.
Photos by Claudia and Malte Wingen on Unsplash.com