Roadside attraction

I have mixed feelings towards cars.

1.

As a child of the suburbs, I grew up in a car. it was an indispensable tool for living. My mother would take me on 40-minute weekly pilgrimages to the nearest Asian supermarket, extended road trips to visit national parks, day-long hauls to visit friends in neighboring states, and everything in between.

Back then, I experienced the car as a bumpy metal confinement cell. The perpetual question on my mind and tongue was: “Are we there yet?” What I really meant was, “Can I get out of jail now?” The answer was usually “No, be quiet.”

2.

I never learned how to drive properly, getting my license finally the day before I turned 21. This was after 3 failed attempts to pass the US road exam in high school, two of which resulted in firm scoldings that greatly dampened the appeal of driving for me. The driver’s seat was where you sat if you wanted to frustrate and disappoint someone.

Finally, in college, my then-boyfriend-now-husband taught me how to tolerate driving again, and in a friend’s borrowed automatic, I shakily passed the exam. Since then, I’ve somehow managed to avoid driving completely. This means I am probably now just as terrible at driving as I was at age 16.

3.

In a country where, for many, the car signifies freedom and status, I’ve managed to experience it as the complete opposite: a source of restriction and shame.

But I’ve come to realize there’s a third way to experience the car, one that puts me on way better terms with it:┬ávisit a heartbreakingly gorgeous country, and the car becomes a picture frame.

You may never want to give up the passenger seat again.

Snapped haphazardly with a 70-300mm zoom lens, 1600 ISO, F5.6, and 1/4000 shutter speed as we zoomed past.