To the Editor,
We all have a vehicle to get us where we want to go. What type is usually something that reflects our personalities, of how we want to be seen by others riding around in extensions of our egos. Yet there are some of us that put the purpose of a vehicle, its functionality, above what kind of vehicle we use. The projection of identity not being important. As long as it gets us there.
For well over a decade I drove a two seater convertible sports car. It was my daily driver, not something parked in the garage for fair weather weekend use. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I bought it because I always wanted one stemming from my high school days where a friend of mine had a Triumph Spitfire in the era of powerful muscle cars. Hanging on in the passenger’s seat with the air whipping around me as we cornered at 50 mph gave me a feeling that would not be experienced again through the series of practical and boring used vehicles I drove until my early 50s. So when time and opportunity presented itself, I purchased a new Japanese made equivalent, dropped the top and headed into my golden years. Practicality be damned.
That was then. This is now. Now I can go on for a few more paragraphs about the virtues of the little speedster but that would just be trivial to the simple fact that driving it was a whole lot of fun. Seeing other men my age in their minivans and SUVs looking at me wishing they were behind the wheel and others wondering why that old man had a car like that did boost my ego. The remembrance of that roadtrip my wife and I took to the Vegas strip to get remarried by Elvis (a story for another time) will surely make me smile well into the years when my mobility will be limited. Many other wonderful memories of being in that car make up the “was then” part.
But now I am older as reminded by seeing my retirement becoming something more evident by its proximity to my front door. By my mirror showing less hair on the top of my head due to too many miles driving with the top down, or maybe my hair just having early Alzheimer’s and being confused about where to grow as proven by it now coming out of my nose and ears. And there is that thing about mechanical leprechauns lowering my car closer to the ground every night as I slept making the yoga of getting in and out more arduous every day. Or it’s just being more conscience of the increase of traffic and of those jacked up trucks (compensation?) intimidating other vehicles with sheer size and noise. Maybe it’s the radio playing the “thrill is gone” every time I turn it on instead of “fun fun fun on the Autobahn.” Then again it could be that I am honestly facing the fact that a vehicle doesn’t need to reflect anything about me anymore. That the package doesn’t need to sell the contents for they can stand on their own and maybe that’s all that is needed. And my acceptance thereof. The “is now” part.
So the opportunity recently presented itself where that I changed vehicles. I watched the dealer’s tow truck haul the speedster down the street until it was gone. I was not sad but a calm happiness came to me for having it. It served its purpose.
I opened the door to the older pickup I traded it for. It’s nothing fancy and doesn’t have anything I don’t need. I started the engine and looked forward to the road ahead in the vehicle I need to be in.