So, three years ago, my mechanic refused to repair my 17-year-old Mitsubishi Mirage. The old girl was blowing smoke, held together by bubble gum and wishful thinking. She'd held up fine almost two decades and carted my cousin back and forth to the doctor and chemo treatments. Those trips blew out the Mirage's gaskets, as it did mine. So I bought a used car, but what a used car. . .
When you have been unhappy or under intense emotional duress for long periods of time, you have no resistance to fun. None. You are a thirsty woman, and there is cool, clear water ahead. It's nothing more complicated than that. So when the salesman brought out a spiffy, itty-bitty red sports car out for me to test drive, it was a done deal. It was impossible to feel tired or overwrought when I was sitting in that little car. Still is. Big fun.
I was in my closing-in-on my sixties years then, and I took my neighbor, in her mid-90s for a ride, two girls out for a picnic. A peanut butter sandwich to share, a warm Coke, the sun roof open in May, two girls out to see the spring blooming trees and a deep blue lake. I don't know who was happier. It was a sweet, sweet day.
We did merit some second glances from twenty-something guys. It wasn't exactly desire (discounting the car); it was much closer to flat disbelief. I'm still smiling about that.
Little sports cars give you permission, of sorts. Mine did for two of my writing sisters, one of them bought a red sports car, the other silver. Both of them convertibles. When we talked about it later; they said my little car gave them the notion that we have all reached the age of accountability, we have all lived through some pretty harrowing times, times that required the utmost in responsibility. Now that their children were grown with lives and kids of their own; (just one of their supreme tasks) that it was quite all right for their moms to drive sporty cars, preferably with the top down or the sun roof open along beautiful, beguiling roads into the mountains or the coast.
My friend, Julie, another sister in the making, just bought her sporty little car: a great music system and sassy rims. She's raised two gorgeous girls. The car she used to haul little girls to soccer and cheerleader practice was just not going to do that any more.
She had a little unrepentant pleasure in mind.