I've been yearning to drive a stick stick shift again after way too many years behind the wheel of a mini van. Over the last year, I missed a couple of opportunities -- harder to come by than one might think, the auto industry is threatening to stop making them all together and I am still (sadly) far closer to the mini van demographic than the sports car set. Last Saturday I celebrated by birthday with friends who have a nearly 17 year old son and supped up Mustang that he is not yet licensed to drive (legally.) Not wanting to miss this particular opportunity again, I made my birthday wish known before I arrived (and imbibed) making taking the wheel beyond my reach.
The dad -- who is a car guy and helped his son rebuild the car in questions, by which I mean made it really LOUD -- handed me the keys as entered the house. "Here you go birthday girl," and instructed his lovely son (who I've known since he was two) to take Mrs. G for a ride. Ouch that Mrs. G thing hurt.
Undeterred by the jarring reminder that I was not in fact 17 myself, I took the boy and his car for a spin and it was glorious. I opened her up while still in their neighborhood, and was delighted to find that there was not only a fifth gear but also a sixth. Once we hit the open road, 17 year old (6'2") football player holding the bar above his window and trying to remain calm as the old lady sitting next to him gunned the engine, seemed to take some solace in my assurances -- as I down shift between curves -- that I would make the cop believe I was driving "no we did not switch seats!" if there was a price to be paid for this wee bit of time travel.
It was, bar none, the best birthday present I ever I got. Is there a Nascar tour for seniors? That just might take the sting out of the incessant offers to join the AARP.