“Just take your fast car and keep on driving.” ~ Tracy Chapman
In the first quarter of the Bronco playoff game with the New England Patriots, I couldn’t take it anymore. Overwhelmed by a stuffy head, I drove out in search of Sudafed. When I am feeling my worst on a Saturday night, there’s nothing I appreciate more than a seven mile drive to a 24-hour pharmacy to purchase decongestant. (Thanks, meth lab operators for providing me with that convenience.) Anyway, I handed the pharmacist my driver’s license, signed my life away, took my contraband box, and pulled out on the road toward home. That’s when it pulled up alongside me on this moonless night, sleek as a shadow. My midlife crisis car. A black Chevy Camaro.
I own a very pragmatic and cushy Lexus SUV, perfect for endless hours of driving the boys around and trekking through snowy Colorado winters. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I love my car. It has never failed me. Still, I often think I could trade it for a black Chevy Camaro.
When I was in high school, my mom was going through her own midlife crisis. She bought a 1986 red Chevy Camaro. I got to drive her car occasionally to and from work and sometimes to a movie with friends. That’s when my love affair with the Camaro began. Admittedly, the 1986 iteration of that vehicle was not its most attractive, but when I turned the key in the ignition that beast purred for me. It was fast and fun to drive. That car bridged a gap between my mom and I during some difficult times. It was our baby. Unfortunately, some jerk stole it for joyride purposes one day. When it was found, it was so badly damaged that the insurance company declared it a loss. I remember going to the impound lot to help my mom clean it out. We both cried. My mom went back to a dull sedan, and my fun was over.
Later that year I developed a crush on an older man (okay…he was only four years older) who drove a late 70’s model black Camaro, and my love affair with that car was rekindled. So what if that particular cute, blonde guy never wanted to date me? He drove me around in his car occasionally, and that was something. I still remember sitting in the passenger seat and cruising down Broadway with the t-tops off on a gorgeous summer day. Pure joy.
Tonight as I sat at that street light, glancing longingly at that shiny black car in the next lane, it hit me. This May I will be the same age my mom was when she got her Camaro. Certainly that must be a sign, right? Sometimes history repeats itself. Would it be insane for me to trade my reliable SUV for a gleaming muscle car? The Camaro gets better gas mileage than my SUV, costs less, and the 323-horsepower would make the trip to the boys’ school infinitely faster. Sure there’s still the snow and ice of a Denver winter to deal with, but we do have those 300 days of sunshine too so it should balance out. My husband got his midlife crisis car last year, a cadet blue Toyota FJ Cruiser, so that should factor into my ability to choose a new car. Besides, I think I would look pretty cool driving it.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get my midlife crisis Camaro. Perhaps it’s one of those dreams I’ll never realize. But, sometimes, when one pulls up next to me at a stoplight, I secretly imagine myself in it. I imagine that car would make me feel 18 again. It might be worth the trade.