“I want another car,” the Lady of the House said out of the blue.
Um, OK. She’s had her little sedan for 20 years now. She’s been rough on its body but the motor’s still good. I thought maybe it is time for a change.
Uh, no, the Lady informed me. She wants to get rid of the MUSCLE car.
I’m on my third consecutive sports car. None of them have had that much muscle, though; one had only four cylinders. I care for looks, not speed.
Four years ago I took the latest one off the hands of my son-in-law, who turned boring, family-man driver and bought a sedan. He does have a fine family. But his boy complained loudly and wanted him to keep the muscle car. His loss, my gain.
History repeats. One time, at age 11, I begged and pleaded with my father to not get rid of his new ‘67, royal-blue Mustang from Winebarger’s in Elkin. I had my eyes on that car for some future day. But Dad would have none of it, said his long, spindly legs were cramped. I still pine for that car.
I have a red one now, a ‘00 model, but the paint’s fading and the spoiler doesn’t have any red left at all. I like the smaller, sleek body styles of the older models. And I like the five on the floor.
My muscle car may have my last manual transmission. Stick shifts are “on the brink of extinction,” according to 365cardeals.com, an online auto broker. I love the quick power and feel of a stick. I wonder if grandpa Harris, who never drove, felt that way about his horses.
They say that teenagers are growing indifferent to getting a driver’s license and driving. Teenagers are expecting to grow up with Uber and self-driving cars and being able to piddle on their phones while they ride but not drive.
I’m skeptical. One time while Down East my 16-year-old nephew up and asked to drive my muscle car. I froze.
I had never allowed anyone else to drive it. It’s old and the clutch is a bit loose and I feared the youngster burning out the clutch or even rolling the car over.
But I swallowed and the menfolk piled in and nephew wheeled around the subdivision a bit too fast. But I bit my tongue and held onto the door frame. He certainly showed no desire to give up on driving.
So I declare that American youth are not yet ready to do away with the thrill of the open road. Good for them.
“But I like my car,” I whined. The Lady sat silent. Silence is never a good sign in marital negotiations. I wonder if Trump has any advice on that one in his The Art Of The Deal book?
“Then,” she finally concluded, “I want the window fixed.” Even though she doesn’t drive the car. The driver’s power window is broke and won’t open.
“But I like my window,” I whined.
It’s going to be a long summer.
Postscript: A couple of weeks ago the Lady got her new car, a Chevy SUV. Automatic. Sigh. But I’m keeping the muscle car. Its window will remain shut.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.