Fact One: I plan to live to be ninety-six years old, give or take a couple. That’s three years fewer than my grandfather lived (who didn’t smoke or drink, who ate oatmeal every morning, and who didn’t retire until he was almost ninety). But ninety-six is ten years longer than my mother lived (who didn’t smoke or drink, and who ate oatmeal every morning). And it’s seventeen years longer than my father lived (. . . well, yes . . . but seventy-nine years was a respectable run, considering).
Fact Two: The other day, just as I pulled into my garage, the odometer in my beautiful little red Honda “Fit” turned over to 68,000 miles.
Stay with me here – these facts are related.
Fact Three: Earlier in the week a Honda mechanic told me that his friend has a “Fit” with 200,000 miles on it.
Sitting there, admiring those three zeros on the odometer, I turned off the car radio and started doing the math. I’ve had my car for eight years; 68,000 miles is less than 9000 miles per year. I’m seventy-four, and if I continue to drive the same number of miles per year, the car in which I was now cogitating could last till nearly my ninetieth birthday. If I drive fewer miles in the coming years (which is likely), and this wonderful, reliable red car makes it to 200,000 miles (which is possible) . . . this car may serve me for the REST OF MY LIFE. This may be the LAST car I ever own!
Suddenly I felt an unexpected surge of mixed emotions.
There was a spate of panic, seeing the end of my life racing down the highway of my imagination, headed straight for me. And there was a wash of relief that I may never have to go through the agony of buying a new car again (unless I decide I just HAVE to have an electric car, or even a self-driving car – red, of course). And then there was a mélange of little feelings: new fondness for my reliable car, self-congratulation that I had chosen this particular four-wheeled companion, amazement that life itself doesn’t come equipped with seatbelts, and half a dozen other unnamed feelings.
Right there in my garage, there was a sweet, brief love-fest: just me and my little red car. Together. Maybe forever.