Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Traveling Along with Forrest Gump

Third day of 2007. Near the Wisconsin Dells. On the road for 2.5 hours. Half-way home. I am the sole passenger in my husband’s '01 Buick LeSabre which is traveling along at a steady 72 mph.

“Old is as old does,” I suddenly hear Forrest Gump say, referring to senior citizens and leisure travel. On a good day, I would refute his statement. “Speak for yourself, Forrest.” But on this medium day, with the sun warming the right side of my face as it streams through the tinted windows, I’ll simply take half an issue with Forrest’s travel interruptus since I am, after all, really assessing myself right now, and I’m kinda tired. (Still recuperating from staying awake on the couch till 11:25 PM New Year’s Eve, plus I got that whole warm sun thing going.) I’ll therefore only briefly tackle my debate with Forrest before I nod off or my laptop runs out of battery. And like I said, it is only the third day of a New Year. We all have things to do, people to meet, places to travel—which brings me back to the Geezermobile.

You’re reading the words of someone who, as a senior in high school, owned a 1957 powder blue and white, two-door, Chevy hard-top. Even the kids in my 1963 graduating class at Wheaton High School (“Orange-and-black, fight, fight! Gooooooo, TIGERS!”) recognized the supreme worthiness of that way cool piece of machinery. After all these years, my heart still skips a beat at the mere memory of it. (Or did I forget to take my blood pressure medicine—again?) So as I sit here this first week of the new year in a geezer beige LeSabre (okay, "dark Bronzemist, metallic" beige—big whoop—but the man used to own a Buick WILDCAT!) while reflecting on years past and contemplating the ever decreasing years left before me, I know for a fact that I did not “travel along” in that ’57 Chevy. I cruised, preened and bombed around in it. Head thrown back and windows wide open, I put my foot in it, vroom-vroomed, hammered down, did a quarter-mile with style. I barreled along, squealed to a stop, and like a cougar on the low prowl, I sleekly slid into a stall at the A&W, goosed it a couple times then just sat there to be one with (and to be seen in) that beauty. But nay, nary once did I ever simply “travel along.”

You’re reading the words of someone who recognizes the sound of a Harley, who sports a tattoo (although I think it used to be a half-inch higher on my ankle before my skin got all loose), who used to be able to eat spicy food without taking reflux medication and who loved diving down that first hill on wooden roller coasters—back before my neck started going out. And why does my neck go out? Because years ago the vehicle I was in (somewhere on the cool-o-meter between a '57 Chevy and the Geezermobile), which was sitting at a complete stop, was rear ended by a speeding car—twice, six years apart. (Thank goodness that didn’t happen while I was in my ’57 Chevy. At least it had the decency to simply blow its own engine!)

But you’re also reading the words of someone whose need for speed has morphed into a fine appreciation for the glide ride and decent miles per gallon. Someone whose back says thank you to the lower lumbar adjustment and whose mode of transportation gets more use out of cruise control than the tachometer (which I forget I have) in my mid-size SUV, which is at least painted a mysterious black rather than geezer beige, and which sports a sun roof and six-changer CD.

Shut up, Forrest.

But Forrest, before I nod off I will give you this much about “Old is as old does.” Traveling along in a Geezermobile—especially with a lovable geezer who is only slightly older than my Geezerette self—isn’t all that bad. Why, we wild things might even stop at a Cracker Barrel before today’s journey is over just to prove we still can.

Seriously, Forrest, shut up. I’m taking a nap now before my bladder reminds me that it’s time for a pit stop involving no V-8 engines, no checker flags and no victory laps. You’ve made your point. Now run, Forrest, run. Far away from my leisurely, senior citizen’s traveling-along brain.

DISCLAIMER: To all who own a Buick LeSabre, nothing personal. It is a good car. It gets good gas mileage. It has swell pickup. It offers a nice ride. It's been Very Dependable. You've made a good choice. It is not a '57 Chevy and I am not a young babe. Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. I had a Mitsubishi Eclipse (very nice looking) for a couple of years, until I realized that my back and my knees had a hard time getting me out of it. I must say, I am happier in my oldtimers Galant.