This morning on the news I saw footage of an elderly woman who had gotten confused, mistaken her gas pedal for the brake and drove her car through the front window of the St. Joseph Family Care Center, the poor dear.
As my friend Vicki will attest, old people and cars can be a lethal combination. Case in point: her father Larry, who has finally quit driving, thank God! The last time I rode with him he became so engrossed with his opining on about “young people these days” that he became completely unaware of his surroundings and absentmindedly drove right through several stop signs and red lights oblivious to the honking, swearing, and middle finger displays aimed in his direction. He had a close encounter with a squirrel who escaped, just barely, with it’s life, and he came within spitting distance of taking out a bus stop full of school children. Not to mention the numerous curbs that were run over and medians that just “jumped right in front of the car.”
By virtue of having lived forever, he knows it all, and has solidly immutable, and often completely bat-shit crazy opinions on absolutely everything. I just love him, but at the request of his entire family and the Department of Motor Vehicles, he has relented and is now letting someone else take the wheel.
It always scares the crap out of me to see some doddering old couple shuffle their way through a parking lot and spend much of what’s left of their precious time on earth trying to remember where they left their giant boat of a car. Then they do the endless, fumbling search for their keys. Once the proper key is located on their giant key ring loaded down with every key they’ve ever owned, it takes them ever so long to get the key into the lock. Once the doors are open, they remember that there is something they need to put in the trunk and so, again, it’s a search for the right key and the procedure begins again. By the time they finally get themselves actually into the car, several small Slavic countries have changed names at least twice.
I do realize that very soon I myself will be one of these doddering old persons unable to find my car in the parking lot and making the security people at the mall drive me around in a golf cart looking for my black Toyota RAV4. It will only be after I make a phone call to my son Ben to come and get me that I will be reminded that I traded in the Toyota two years ago and bought a silver Nissan, oh yeah.
So in the future if you get stuck behind me driving 20 mph down the Belt and swear you will never be a slow driving, blue haired, support hose wearing Yoda, just remember: at your age, that’s what I said too.