You’d never know it by looking at her, but my wife is about to hit a landmark, age-wise. I’m not gonna mention how old she’ll be, for fear of getting shanked in my sleep, but she’s closer to an AARP membership than she is to a her first legal Cosmopolitan.
Recently, she got a new hairdo, which, frankly, she should have done a while back because it makes her look all sexy and way younger, kind of like Jaclyn Smith in her heyday. If she were Asian. She’s been working out more, buying new clothes, and even talking about getting some kind of laser beams blasted at her tummy to erase the evidence of having two people living inside there for the better part of a year.
And to top it all off, she’s going out tomorrow to order a new car. Not a mom car. Not an old lady car. A Mini Cooper. A red one with stripes and shiny rims and a stickshift and a turbocharger.
I tried to talk her into getting something a little more practical. Something small and cute and sporty, sure, but something with backseats that grownups could sit in, or at least that you could put kids’ carseats in.
Nothing doing. She’s got her heart set on the Mini.
You might be tempted, at this point, to say, “Oh, man, Beta Dad, why don’t you cry some more about your first world problems. At least you can afford a new car, you and your big fancy doctor wife.”
To which I say, “SHUT UP, JERK! YOU DON’T KNOW ME! SHUT UP!”
That was uncalled for, right? I’m sorry I lashed out like that.
What I meant to say is that, although the Mini may seem like a frivolous car to own, I don’t begrudge my wife this indulgence. Because I remember the last car she bought, and how happy it made her. Just a simple, base-model VW Golf, but so road-sticky and quick off the line that it was a real pleasure to drive. And cute as a button. I remember vividly when we took it out for a test drive. I ran my fingers through my thick, lustrous hair and watched her pull on her plaid miniskirt as she adjusted the seat. We set off down a winding country road and I flipped on the radio to check out the sound system. I tapped my Doc Martens on the floorboard, keeping tempo with that new song, what was it called… oh yeah, “Tubthumping.” By the hot new band Chumbawamba. BECAUSE IT WAS 1997.
Yes, my wife has been driving the same vehicle that she got in medical school, 15 years ago. I think she has earned the right to treat herself to a fun car.
But when I ask her what I get for my midlife crisis–I’m 5.5 years older than her–she says, “Please. You got your minvan.”