The films 10, THE WOMAN IN RED and AMERICAN BEAUTY all center around guys who are suffering midlife-crises. And in each of those movies, the protagonist (played by Dudley Moore, Gene Wilder and Kevin Spacey respectively) is precisely 42 years old.
I’m 42 years old. And I ain’t nowhere near a midlife crisis. On the contrary, despite some physical signs of aging like deteriorating eyesight, thinning and graying hair (the latter part of which I actually like) and a Grampa-Simpsoneque tendency to bitch about everything, I still feel like I did when I was half my age. Hell, I’m still not sure what I wanna do when I grow up.
But there are some things that I have to accept are never going to happen in my life. Some of them are small (I’ll never be able to grow sideburns) and some are big (my grandfather’s prophecy upon my birth shall never come to be… never mind what it was). But most fall somewhere in the middle.
When my father’s first marriage ended in 1962, he did what lots of freshly-single guys did. He sowed some oats, he started smoking and he bought a brand new sports car. A gorgeous white Volvo P-1800 S.
I had intentions. I wanted to get the Volvo fixed up and on the road. But life didn’t make room for that. First, it was financial. I just wasn’t making enough money. By the time I was solvent enough to afford to do so, I was living in Hoboken, New Jersey, a town not conducive to driving / parking / owning a low-riding, white vintage sports car. I can afford to fix it, not own it up here.
I never wanted to fully give up on the idea of the 1800 someday being “mine,” but I have to. Dad finally got tired of waiting for me to do something, so last year he took it to a body shop to begin the process of restoration. When it’s done… well, it won’t be mine. It’ll probably be sold. My parents need the money more than I need to own a car that will sit in Lancaster so I can drive it four times a year. My biggest wish at this point is that Dad hangs onto it for a while, driving it himself. Dad just turned 78 last month and he’s feeling his age more than I am. Maybe even just driving the Volvo to the diner will make him feel a little bit young again.
At least I still have the toy. It’s sitting on a shelf in my living room. Plastic and metal. Easier to have than the real thing. Small.