When has your car ever been the safe haven it is now?

“I have reached the moment in quarantine when I am sitting in my car in the garage because it’s the only place I can go to get away from my family,” tweeted Lisa Miller, under her handle @iwork_imom_icook.

I know Miller isn’t the only one finding solitude on four wheels.

Even commuters who used to hate their car time are sneaking into their Priuses to listen to their favourite podcast in the driveway.

Even if you don’t understand Hebrew, you can probably relate to the rant that Shiri Koenigsberg Levy, 41, a special ed teacher in Israel recorded when she hid in the car from her four kids.

“Listen, this won’t work! This home schooling is really impossible. It’s not normal!” Levy vented. For a moment, her car was her safe space, her spa, her therapy chamber.

Funny, because the car is usually the crazy-making place for parents who log long-haul trucker hours during seasons of practices, tournaments and games, rehearsals, shows and gigs.

A rare day without driving felt like a weekend on a Caribbean beach, and most of us never imagined escaping to the car.

Our minivan is my new glass-enclosed nerve centre, the only quiet space I can find to do my phone interviews away from my husband’s loud Zoom calls, an onslaught of office cliches about “circling back” and “unpacking” and “optimising dialogue”.

Without the children in the car, the hockey smell is gone. So are the wrappers and Gatorade bottles, the snacks, the pucks … the kids. Wait! No. Kids.

This is it! It is my new hiding place not just for me, but for rations and resources.

Being cooped up for weeks with three large males is 24-hour Hunger Games. Suddenly the guys who can’t seem to ever find anything without the help of a maternal tracking device have found everything — the bottle of Italian blood orange soda I’d been saving, all the bags of chocolate chips, every chunk of cheese, my grapefruit sodas, which they all used to hate until now.

Now, they’re secreted away in the van. This is the first year the Easter candy survived. There are still granola bars! In the van. The idle, quiet van, with the tank of gas I filled on March 26.

Cars are now storage facilities and hiding places. They are our day spa, our recording booth, our nap pod.

Once the pandemic is over, of course, many people may feel safer commuting by car than bus or train.

Will our vehicular havens return to the gridlocked highways and road rage of the past?

What will our car lives be like when we leave our lockdowns? And most importantly, where will I hide my grapefruit sodas?

The Washington Post

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