So how do you find a sense of purpose and self-worth when you are a lost fake? I bought a car. The saved money was set aside from my paychecks. As mentally challenged as I was, I knew how to hold onto a dollar. My only real expenses were the rent for a small apartment with rent control and a few nice clothes to supplement my uniforms. Because my work involved traveling and exploring new cities, there was no need to spend on outside entertainment. Painting and reading books from the library and an occasional purchase let me live cheaply. So in addition to having the entire price of a new car in the bank, I was able to help my mother pay the bills.
And so one day my mother and I drove the 25 miles to Manassas, stopped in at the shiny AMC dealership and I bought the car of the era, a Gremlin. Purple. And I immediately bought a bumper sticker: "Beam Me Up Scotty." But the excitement of having my own transportation was almost outweighed by pure fear. My mother's driving instructions enabled me to pass the test but my lack of experience combined with the heavy medication and a heavy foot ensured a feeling of instability and uncertainty on the road. I was a she-devil on wheels. Panicked but Persistent.
And now with a slightly plumper and less anorexic profile, my first adventure on my own was into the deep suburbs to find some new clothes. The fact that I found my way down I66, merged onto the inner beltway of 495 around D.C., navigated the huge Tysons Corner Mall to find several new outfits, and got home safely before dark was an accomplishment worthy of Star Trek. With my new purple car inspiring me to get on with my life, I suddenly felt ready to "go where no one had gone before."
To Be Continued ...