The Law of Attraction: Carport #35

On the late September day I signed the apartment lease, the manager said, “The waiting list for a carport is really, really long, a year at least, but I’ll put your name on it just the same.”

I was OK with that, I thought, way back in the early weeks of October. The apartment is the perfect size and configuration for me, the community is lovely and quiet. I can live happily without a carport, I told myself, even though the 13-year-old Jetta that saw me through corporate jobs and layoffs, a decade of self-employment, and a year of cancer treatment had never spent a Michigan winter totally exposed.

The days grew shorter; the night air grew chill and frosted the windows and door handles.

Each morning my little Jetta took a bit longer to cough awake. I’d let her sputter and groan into a reasonable driving temperature, all the time with my eye on Carport #35, second from the end right outside the door of my building. It was empty every morning, like a black hole begging me to enter, and empty in the evening when I walked the circumference of the community.

Carport #35, I kept thinking all autumn and into the winter. I should ask about Carport #35. But the days would get busy and I would forget to make the call. Still, each morning, I would stare  into the darkness of Carport #35 as I scrapped ice from my windows and fought to open the doors. I imagined how it would feel to drive into it; I visualized my Jetta snug inside while a storm raged, and smiled in thinking how cool the steering wheel would be on the hottest summer day.

One January morning my car door was frozen shut. It took ten minutes to get it open, another ten to scrape the thick frost off the windows. Carport #35 was empty.

A few days later, on the damp and cloudy day just before the first measurable snowfall of the season, the apartment manager phoned:  A carport had just opened up—was I interested?

You bet I was.

My Jetta now purrs awake even on the coldest mornings. She’s never dressed in frost, her doors open easily, and I smile every time I see her sitting patiently—in Carport #35.