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Archive for January, 2009

Penelope Pitstop

Penelope Pitstop

This morning, my mother fired the latest volley in her ongoing “you need a new car” campaign. I don’t remember what she said; I wasn’t really listening. That’s mainly because I’ve heard it all before; her campaign has been going on for quite some time.

Let me back up a bit. In June 2000, I did the unthinkable. I bought a new car. It wasn’t economical; it wasn’t used; it wasn’t a practical, modest sedan. I bought my first—and so far only—new car: a brand new, fresh-from-the-factory, made-just-for-me Jeep Wrangler. Silver grey and black, automatic (I never did learn to drive manual), CD player (quite a big deal nine years ago), both hard AND soft top (I thought the soft top wouldn’t hold up to our frigid winter temps—I was wrong and if I had the chance to do it again, I’d skip the hard top).

When I fired it up for the first time, I saw that it had 2 miles on the odometer. TWO. I could have spontaneously combusted, I was so ecstatic.

Why? Let me back up a bit more. My uncle (my mother’s brother) was a car guy. He first sold Pontiacs after he came home from World War II, and then, in the mid-1950s, he opened his own dealership: Oldsmobiles. Hey, they were cool then.

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We went sledding last weekend. I’ll be honest; I didn’t want to go. It was phenomenally cold, and my back ached. These old bones were begging me to stay inside by the woodstove.

But we have a 5-year-old son who would rot his brain playing video games if we didn’t drag him out of the house, and it looked like major brain-rotting was his plan for the weekend. It had to be done.

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I’m 7!

…Okay, I’m actually 43.

But this age is kind of unremarkable, on the surface. It doesn’t quite have the zing, the panache, of 21, or 30, or even 40. It’s a lot more bland.

43. Whoopee.

When I was 37, I could quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

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