My Car Is My Quiet Place

Call me weird, but I really like to sit in my car – it’s my quiet place.  Alone.

 It has nothing to do with driving-I like that, too, especially when it’s on the open highway.  What I’m talking about are those rare moments when I’m completely locked in my glass bubble.  The engine isn’t running, the radio is silent, and if I’m lucky, the rain is gently falling on the roof.
When I was a kid, I used to love going in our garage when it was raining just to listen to the soft, rhythmic sound of rain hitting the shake shingles.  It felt safe, quiet, and I guess meditative, although I had no idea what that was at the time.
Today, I spend my days in an endless gurgle of people wanting, needing, and questioning.  My continuous ‘response with a smile’ feels exhausting by 4p.m. and I find myself craving quiet.  That is where the car comes in.
I don’t slip out to the garage and leave my family inside the house wondering what’s up with Mom.  I don’t drive around the block searching for a place to park.  Sometimes I do linger after I’ve arrived home, savoring the last of the NPR story, or taking a few deep breaths to center myself.
My car sitting time is often while I’m waiting for my son or daughter to finish a class, an activity, or some sport that doesn’t require spectating.  It’s best when I park in a quiet neighborhood without many pedestrians peering in the windows.  I prefer daylight quiet in my car, although I do keep a Halloween style skull lantern in my glove box to shed a little light as needed.
What do I do in the car?  I sit.  I write.  I think.  I grade the endless papers that my students provide me every day.  I don’t like to talk on the phone, but I do occasionally check my email, play Words with Friends, or send a text or two.  I write lots of blog posts, I do lesson plans, and once in awhile I’ll read a book or catch up on the newspaper.  I even keep a blanket handy.
Once I did fall asleep – it was dark and after dinner – that felt a bit embarrassing and disorienting.  As my teenage daughter would say, it was ‘sup-awk’ to wake up to the chatter of kids leaving their class knowing I had been snoring with the windows open!
Mostly I find that I breathe, sink into the seat, and just slow it down.  I let my heartbeat match the rain, and concentrate on me. Most of the time people don’t notice me there, and I like that.
Now that I’m an adult, I don’t get to hear the rain on the roof of our house.   The sound of rain hitting skylights just isn’t the same-it’s more of a ping than a satisfying thud.  But when I’m alone inside my car I hear it all-rain, the wind, birds, dogs, and passers-by all create a meditative backdrop to my thoughts.
As a turtle needs to retreat into its shell to protect its soft body, as a chipmunk scurries into its hole, and as a rabbit retreats to its den, I need a place to go and shut out the world.  The demands of a job and a family can, just for a moment, stay outside the bubble.  Safe, dry, and protected, I can breathe in and out, and find my center again.
Call me weird, but I really like to sit in my car.  Alone.  Quietly.  What about you? Where’s your quite place?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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48 thoughts on “My Car Is My Quiet Place

  1. Sarah says:

    I know how you feel. When I was in the military I to enjoyed just sitting in my car. It was my closet(haha), my nap spot, my spot to just read a book, listen to music and even hang out with my best friend at the time. Now though, I couldn’t say I have a spot.
    Although I still LOVE sitting in my quiet car moments before I come in the house to the kids and my husband. 🙂

  2. TyKes Mom says:

    I can definitely relate. Now that I have children, I love sitting anywhere alone and quietly, lol! But seriously, I love driving by myself. It is very rare that I can drive around all alone, windows down, just listening to the sounds around me and taking in the smells of our back roads. We definitely need those peaceful times to keep us going.

  3. insomnia says:

    I do that too. I leave extra early to pick the kids up from school and sit in my car listening to the radio, thinking or reading. It’s a destress before they pile inside for the ride home.

  4. Kathy Radigan says:

    I too love to sit in my car and wait, it’s that great quiet time when nobody can bug me!! Usually I have a kid with me, but if I don’t I love to listen to my Frank Sinatra CD and just let my mind wander! As always I love to visit your site!! Thanks!

  5. Momfever says:

    I know what you mean. There’s something about being in your car all by your lonesome, that helps you get in touch with yourself. I often find myself again in my car!

    I added you to my bloglist.

  6. Perspective Parenting says:

    I appreciate the drive to and from work. Twenty minutes of my music, my thoughts, my voice, uninterrupted. In the morning, I gear myself up for the day and in the afternoon, I decompress and rejuvenate. Ahhhh….so nice just thinking about it.

  7. brenda says:

    No so weird. I understand the need for being totally alone without the hands of life pulling at your threads. It’s a calming feeling when the engine goes off and you have a few minutes to transition before moving on.. I am here in your corner sharing your ‘weirdness’.

  8. Bella says:

    Mamawolfe, I can totally relate! My sister is a big Target fan and while I can occasionally do the “rounds” with her, I don’t have the stamina to go aisle by aisle as she does. I usually finish up my shopping first and then wait for her in the car. No music. No sound, unless you count my breathing, and it’s so liberating! Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I rarely have “alone” time so I relish any moment of solitude I can get! 🙂

  9. Kelly says:

    Funny, I find my car to be a peaceful place to be too. I enjoy following your blog & I appreciate you following me as well. Next week, like all non-Blogger blogs, I’ll no longer have Google Friends Connect so I hope that you will stop by my blog and continue following me via Linky Followers – I just followed you through LF too!
    My link is on my home page: http://www.savvysuburban.com
    Thank you! Have a great weekend!
    ~Kelly

  10. Dee says:

    Dear Jennifer,
    Yes, I suspect we all need a “hidey-hole.” The cats with whom I live certainly do. For me, it’s my bed with the blankets drawn up to my chin. I can listen to books on tape or CDs. I can read. I can go deep down into the center of myself and discover my heartwishes. I can listen to the sleet hitting the window pane or the rain rapping. Yes. Our own hidey-hole. Enjoy yours.

    Peace.

  11. Carry Bacot says:

    Someone mentioned a transition and I think that’s quite right. In video game terms, that quiet time in the car would be a now loading screen. The interior of a car does provide a great opportunity to just reset your pace, whether it’s before or after a drive. In its own way, time like that feels great.

  12. Stelle Courney says:

    At some point, all we need is a quiet spot. 🙂 Yes, the car is an ideal place to just sit and let the stress float away. After all, having a relaxed mind relieves the day’s pressure.

  13. Hien (Amanda) Nguyen says:

    Interestingly, I’ve had on my Facebook page as an activity and interest “sitting in my car alone” for quite some time. I actually made a Facebook Page yesterday called “Sitting In My Car Alone”. It really was just a joke to myself– poking at myself and asking myself, “is this something to revel in”? It is most times. I used to commute back and forth from school. A lot of the wait and quiet wasn’t from the driving.. but all of the time I spent in my car before I drove off to school and when I was parked at school waiting for class to start. I’ve had the worst and exceptionally inspiring moments by myself in my car sitting there alone. Ranging from pure moments of careful and thoughtful ideation to putting only one song on repeat and crying for half an hour about the overwhelmingness of the people outside of the reach of the car.

    The Facebook page is much more neutral in terms of “if sitting in your car alone is good or not”, but rather, a listing of things people do while they’re in their cars alone and what can come of it.

    http://www.facebook.com/sittinginmycaralone

    Best,

    Amanda

  14. Delsie Maidens says:

    Sitting in your own car would provide you a time for yourself, to recuperate, and to be rejuvenated. I do it once in a while, if I’m tired after work, or if there are problems that I need to think over by myself. You’re not weird, there are also times that people need to be alone, even just for a moment.

  15. Naomi Champy says:

    I guess most of us are rowing the same boat, so to speak, as I, too, love to ponder in my car. For me, my car is a peaceful, sweet, little home that is always there when I need some contemplation and shut off the world for a moment. You’re definitely not alone on this one, Jennifer! =)

  16. Timmy Radloff says:

    I don’t think that’s weird at all. Each of us has a side that wants to be alone in a quiet and peaceful place. It is our chance to relax our minds, daydream and think of the things that we never usually think of when we are with others. It’s not weird at all, it’s just that the place you like to do it is in your car.

  17. Michelle says:

    Amen! I do this all the time! My husband has always noticed, but my girlfriends just recently noticed… so I ‘googled’ it to see if I might not be the only one! Ha ha! -here’s to sitting in a warm, quiet, parked car!

  18. esh says:

    My gosh. I thought I was the only one with this weird habbit. I just got my own car and have just started working. With that this thing of sitting in my car alone just doing nothing has started. Its the place I feel most relaxed. In the morning i do it when I reach my workplace. Prepares me for the long day. I even do it after work. Or sometimes just before entering my house. I randomly googled this while sitting in the car and read your blog. This very moment its raining lightly and I can hear the raindrops 🙂 never really paid attention to it but realised its the sound of comfort…

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I’m envious that you’re still able to sit in the peacefulness of the rain; right now it’s sunny and windy where I live! it’s soimportant for us all to find that quiet place where we can relax-even if it’s in our car! Enjoy your day ~Jennifer

  19. blogqueendiane says:

    Just read this blog post on Project Underblog and loved it!! Can so relate to what you wrote. In fact, every day at work I go sit in my car and eat lunch and read in solitude. People may think I’m weird, but it’s a great way to recharge yourself, especially if you work with people. Signed up to get your blog posts regularly and look forward to reading more of what you write!
    blogqueendiane recently posted…Saving Money: Why Do We Love It So Much?My Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Oh thank you! I’m such a person who needs my quiet time wherever and whenever I can get it! Thanks SO much for following my posts – I’m looking forward to getting to know you!

  20. Judy says:

    One of the main reasons I love sitting in my car is I’m almost always cold and it feels soooooo good to sit in car warmed by the sun! I suspected I might be weird for enjoying spending so much time sitting in my car to do paperwork, make phone calls, eat lunch, etc. that I had to Google it and I found your blog!

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      Hi Judy! I’m so glad you found your way to my blog – and you are not alone in your love for sitting in a quiet car! So many people share our hiding spot! I look forward to connecting with you!

  21. Chris says:

    I really liked reading this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I like sitting in my car after a long day at work and it feels so refreshing this quiet place before heading inside home. My husband doesn’t understand this and finds it weird but it feels so right to me. I am glad i am not the only one 🙂
    Thank you!

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