Kerouac, Car Insurance, and Mandatory Adulthood

Car insurance is in my blood. My father had car insurance. My father’s father had car insurance. It’s a legacy that my father passed down to me on my 24th birthday when he escorted me out of the house and insisted I make my own way in the world. While initially perceived to be inspirational, I later discovered it was a matter of financial prudence and that if I wanted my apartment (aka my Buick) to be a mobile home, I’d have to start paying rent in the form of car insurance, most likely short term. This too turned out to be a choice not entirely in my hands as my father then knocked on my window and told me to pull the car out of their driveway, thus ensuring the mobile nature of my abode.

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At first I didn’t mind. I’d read a lot of Kerouac while pursuing the degree which landed me in my parents’ basement, and this seemed like the perfect chance to get all ‘gung ho’ and attempt to embody the ideals that prolific America author had burned into my mind. Before I knew it I was going where the winds took me, looking for answers in the rolling prairies, and considering the inherent freedom of a vagabond life. Yes, these would be the new tenets of my existence – for at least the next four miles, after which I’d most certainly run out of gas.

So began my nomadic journey across the Midwest. Well, not across, but rather over a span of about 5 miles wherein I’d take up residence in a store’s parking lot after buying a small trinket from their check-out aisle thus ensuring my status as “customer”, an elite title which came with certain privileges, which were often revoked as soon as the manager realized there was a guy sunbathing on the hood of a Buick in his parking lot. So ended my nomadic journey from my parents’ driveway to Target. It was time to move on. It was time to buy some short term car insurance.

I’d considered springing for the long-term but then I remembered I was living out of my car and didn’t actually have a source of income. The insurance agent agreed that I was a prime candidate for a short-term plan. At first, I made the mistake of thinking that “prime candidate” implied certain benefits. This was not the case, and in fact any and all benefits received from said car insurance agency were on a month-to-month “pay as you go” basis. In short, I was just a regular customer.

My new short term car insurance plan marked a new stage in my life. It was a time of self-discovery; a time of bonding with the expansive interstate system of the North American continent; a time of exactly 30 days until the next payment was due otherwise said time would come to a grinding halt. As would my car.

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