Sports Cars & Wagons: Welcome to Middle Age

Rural Drive 1

The candy apple red two-door Nissan—with jet black windows and a spoiler on the back—kept whispering my name as I made a beeline to her in the parking lot of the dealership. My husband, Cory, examined the sticker price details on a used four-door sedan. He hadn’t noticed my departure.

A dealer shuffled across the lot toward me and the red sports car. “You wanna take it for a spin?”

“Yeah,” I nodded.

I yelled for Cory to come. He shook his head as he approached. “Really? This?” He kept stealing glances at the four-door sedan.

I was barely over thirty but well over the line toward an early mid-life crisis. The car I was there to trade in was a maroon four-door that had practical gas mileage. I longed for something new; something fresh . . . something fast. Something that proclaimed to the world that I was still full of youth and not . . . aging.

After a jaunt around town and testing the limits on its speed, I got my way that day and we drove off the lot in my brand new sports car. The first of its kind I’d ever owned.

For almost ten years, that little red car treated me well. I took her on several cross-country trips as I made my way to and from Indiana. I used her to pick up #1 New York Times bestselling authors from the airport, and let a state Senator or two hitch a ride. Everyone commented on her beauty. “Wow, nice ride!” they’d say. There were arguments and apologies and celebrations in that car. There were, indeed, many memories.

This week I said goodbye to her. I traded her in for a wagon. This summer I will be forty, and the last couple of years I’ve stolen glances of my own at other cars on the Interstate; more practical cars that could fit more than one box in their trunk. Cars that ten years ago I wouldn’t have given a chance. As I walked away from her for the last time, I felt guilt and sadness. I had left a part of my life behind there in the parking lot of the Subaru dealership. My entire thirties. I thought somehow that little red sports car knew I wouldn’t be back and that I’d left her for something steadier.

“What will happen to her once I leave?” I asked my dealer.

“Well, we’ll see if it’s something we can sell on our used lot, but, if not, we’ll send her to auction.”

I nodded.

As I drove away in my new twilight blue four-door wagon, I imagined a sixteen-year-old kid driving away in my old car. He’ll probably see it on some lot as his dad checks out the sticker price on a more reasonable sedan, but he’ll win the argument and that little red car will get him through high school and college. I hope it makes him the coolest kid in school.




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