By the time I turned 49, I had acquired a co-op apartment, and a cat, but no kids. So when I turned 50, I decided to buy myself a birthday present: a two-seater car with a convertible top. It was a really cute car, and I assumed that my body, unlike my face, would never change. (My legs would always possess the supple flexibility needed to get in and out of the car. Ha Ha!) After receiving a diagnosis of bone-on-bone arthritis last year, I was humbled. My brand new hip joint is mighty fine, but I am not sure I would have chosen the same automobile if I knew then what I know now – namely that at some point after one’s 5Oth year, the body becomes less obedient. In any event, the total hip replacement restored my mobility, and agility sufficiently enough that I’m back to jauntily tootling about in my pint-sized roadster.
I didn’t really need a car in Manhattan. I bought it to drive back and forth to Allenhurst, New Jersey between Memorial Day and Labor Day. After relying on the North Jersey Coast Line for 17 years, and arranging with my girlfriend to pick me up every Saturday morning, I was ready to take matters into my own hands. I wanted to enjoy the New Jersey Turnpike from behind the wheel of my car.
So the car only gets exercise for about three months of the year. Otherwise, I don’t drive. In fact I don’t really like driving, and I really detest driving in New York City. The atonal symphony of screeching horns, the zig-zagging cab drivers, the lumbering pushiness of tourist buses and MTA buses, the bike riders on testosterone, and maniacal pedestrians that dart out in the middle of the street – all vying for the same sliver of real estate – leaves me sitting clenched at the edge of my seat clutching that steering wheel for dear life. I am never so happy as when I pull into my garage and gleefully turn the valet key over to the parking attendant.
Given my driving routine, it makes complete sense that the odometer reads less than 28,000 miles eight years after the car was purchased. I cannot consider selling it because based on my per annum mileage accumulation, I will only have 112,000 miles on it by 2030. I can then register it as an antique. Of course I’ll be a bit antiquish by then, but who cares especially if 75 is the new 55.