Wednesday, December 9, 2009

30 Tiny Truths - 2

2. CAG347

Ari Levin's Lexus is the only license plate number I've ever memorized aside from my own.

I didn't have a car throughout high school - I actually didn't get my license until I was out in New Mexico, 18 and technically a freshman in college. But before then, I was the consistent passenger amongst my friends and Ari's car was my favorite ride. There were other good and memorable cars running the road in those days - Ami first had The Van, a giant steel tank that may or may not have been sold to be a cab in an african country after it was no longer in use here. Then The Rocket, a Volvo station wagon that began the long running tradition of Ami and I getting into a car saying 'let's bounce, homes.' And Jacob still has the Grand Marquis, Spoont. sticker attached and filled to the brim with stuff, a living remnant of those days.

But no other car was like CAG347.

The gold Lexus named Alexis with her leather seats, she was a home away from home for years.
Ari and I would take that car every weekend for the Friday Night Drive, a weekly tradition where we would visit our friends who couldn't leave the house for Shabbat - starting off with dinner at one, then the next, until we ended up at Cunningham's for a late night movie, me passing out in the passenger seat on the way home. We must have done this nearly every week for a year or more.

Or the 2am trips to Bistro Francais in Georgetown, when we once literally kidnapped Andrew Stiles from his doorstep and took him there for perfect French cuisine, him screaming the whole way there. Being followed by a police car on Christmas Eve one year, across three counties, through residential neighborhoods and a col de sac, just looking for a place to eat. Getting lost in Poolesville just to see where River Road went.

That car was my escape during endless fights with my parents - blasting The Offspring or the Chili Peppers with Miles and Ari as we sped from diner to diner - Silver, Broadway, Star - or nowhere in particular.

Ari was the driver of our group, going out of his way to pick up or take every one of us somewhere, another extension of his very selfless spirit. He never asked for gas money, never felt put upon, just drove around and did his friends a good turn. When his first senior jersey idea ('I have a room') was turned down, his actual jersey proudly displayed 'The Chauffer.'

I always said once I got a car I would pay it back and give as many rides as I could.
And so I do.
I love driving, and it's rare to find me in the passenger seat. But for Ari, for old times, I'll make an exception.

Ari lives in LA now, and the Lexus just recently died. He has a new car, one I won't have nearly the same relationship with, seeing it only once or twice a year.
But High School is best remembered in that car - late at night, windows open, singing with abandon.

1 comment:

Jstone said...

So that's why you always offer to drive...