Driving was never something I was interested in. I lived in Hawaii and never had to travel more than 20 miles to get anywhere. I grew up being chauffeured around by my parents or grandparents and if I had to get around on my own, the bus system was very reliable.
In college, I was dormbound a lot as I still had no car and didn’t know how to drive. Forget the bus. It took me two hours by bus to get to a mall only ten minutes away. My roommate had a truck and I had friends with cars, so transportation was never an issue. Vanessa’s truck was roomy but cozy and I admired her monogrammed dashboard cover. We listened to a lot of Rascal Flatts. Dakota had a charming bobblehead alligator named Rodrigo on her dashboard and a patch of deer fur stuck in her passenger door from an unfortunate run-in. I believe the deer survived. The passenger door, however, was never the same. Alex’s car overheated a lot, but was always there when we needed to make a trip to Target or the ice cream parlor. Road trips were a novelty for me. It always amazed me that just three hours away was another state. We drove from Texas to Florida one spring break–simply unbelievable to a girl who grew up surrounded by ocean.
Upon graduation, I moved to Los Angeles, a city renowned for its twisty highways and bumper-to-bumper traffic. I knew I needed a car. I had gotten my driver’s license before graduating, so the only problem was the car. My dad flew up with me so that he could help me with apartment and car hunting. He found a car at a used car dealership online. And there she was, a shiny 2000 Toyota Corolla. Even though it was going to be my car, I was so nervous that my dad test drove it. I sat in the passenger seat. Before I knew it, I was writing a check that practically cleared out my savings account and we were off, back to the hotel. Dad took the rental car, which meant I actually had to drive my car now. I was terrified, tailing my dad and driving cautiously on the foreign highways. Our hotel was only 15 minutes away, but the adrenaline was pumping and even though it was daytime, I felt like I was driving with blindfolds on. We stopped at a gas station and I was so proud to be pumping my own gas and paying for it.
That’s how I came to own Kaywinnit. I named her for the cheerful mechanic from “Firefly,” a series I love. Kaylee took pride in Serenity and believed in all the ship could do. Like Serenity, Kaywinnit wasn’t the flashiest car, but she got me where I needed to go. She’s my little engine that could.