Someday you’ll have to tell me the story of why you drive an orange car …
It’s not a question, really, but it’s an opening. In response, I launch into the story of buying my Dodge Dart, a transaction that in the end I had very little to do with. Frustrated by the blatant misogyny alive and well in the car-selling industry, I ended up grateful to my friend James in Arizona who arranged the entire deal over the phone. All I had to do was pick up the check from my bank and exchange it for my keys at the dealership.
In the nearly six months and over 7100 miles I’ve enjoyed in the orange Dart, I’ve learned a few things about the color orange. The most important one is this: you can’t hide in an orange car. From the policeman who rolled down his window at the stoplight to discuss Darts (he has a black one) to the man who waved his phone number in large print at me to the yoga student who tells me every time she sees my car it makes her smile, everybody sees an orange car. There’s now one other that lives somewhere in my neighborhood—we must have made quite a parade the day she was following directly behind me on University Avenue. I reached my hand out of my window to wave—in my rear view mirror I could see her smile back.
When James started phoning car dealers on my behalf, refusing to tell them my name or any particulars other than the car I was looking for, the warranty I wanted, and the price I was willing to pay, the dealers asked this: “What’s her first color choice?”
“What’s her second choice?”
There wasn’t much to discuss after that.
Six years ago when Eleven and Fourteen were newly minted school bus riders, we evolved “the car game” while waiting for the bus. With no cars visible, each of us would guess the color of the next car to pass us. As they grew, the rules became more elaborate. No one could guess the same color two guesses in a row. We got a point if a guess was correct. We earned a second point if the next car was the same color and we hadn’t yet done another round of guessing. Cars with writing on them were disqualified, and the person who bravely guessed “big yellow school bus”—a guess we could only make once per game—earned five points.
Playing it safe meant guessing silver, black, white, or red. To be silly or let the other players get ahead, I might guess purple or mint green or orange. Eventually, the game gave way to other car games—counting total number of “Punch Buggies,” VW bugs, on long trips, trading kisses for “Perdidles,” cars with one headlight burnt out, and shouting out “Yellow Car,” whenever we saw one in motion. Then, one day Fourteen was large enough to move into the front seat. Eleven slid over behind the driver’s side, and games turned to conversations and jokes and singing along with the radio.
Last spring the time came to replace my PT Cruiser convertible, a car that lifted me tremendously by making the fetching and carrying I do all week long infinitely more fun. Initially I wanted a new convertible, but there wasn’t a style and model I could afford that I loved. What would happen if I found a car that was a little cheaper, a car that might just be the car Fourteen could learn to drive, a car that would allow me to hold on to the Cruiser but take the pressure off of it? I discovered the all-new, reengineered Dart. I discovered it came in a rainbow of colors, including orange. I was sold.
Or rather, I wanted to be sold. Even when I flat-out explained to the salesman with whom I test-drove the Dart for the second time that I wanted to make a decision and get going on a car purchase in the next twenty-four hours, he said to me, “I like your pants. Women are lucky—they get to wear comfortable, flowy things.” Apparently, that man should be selling women’s clothing, not cars. By the time he followed up with a timid email message, I’d been driving my car purchased from another dealer for more than three weeks.
In the yoga world orange is the color of Svadhisthana, the creative energy center located two inches below the naval. Associated with self-worth, our abilities to adapt and communicate, graceful movement, pleasure, and our development of creative solutions to issues of living and creating art, Svadhisthana translates, “one’s own place.” Svadhisthana, my favorite chakra, is the reason the logo for Radiant Om Yoga glows orange and features a six-petal lotus. It’s the reason I’ve added orange to my wardrobe and—safety considerations notwithstanding—to my driveway.
The full Hunter’s moon—which I mistakenly elsewhere identified as the harvest moon, has been glowing orange as the moon’s nights grow longer and the sun shifts to the south. I drove my orange car to the yoga studio Thursday morning as the giant orb of a moon was setting. I drove back the same evening under the rising moon. Both times the fantastical moon glowed orange, reflecting the light of the sun it appears to sometimes chase, sometimes lead around the sky. Loving the journey and so honored to see you here, Rxo