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Since I would never freely admit it, some phantom must be holding a gun to my head – I feel old, as in out of date.  Prematurely of course, but if resistance to change is a hallmark of aging, then I’m on my way.  

This revelation came to me after my first ever car accident a few weeks ago.  I was fine but I did have to rent a car while mine is repaired.  Suddenly I was face-to-steering-wheel with a completely new experience – driving a foreign car.  Not as in a European or Asian vehicle, but as in one I’ve just never driven before.

The insurance company chose the car rental agency and they did try to put me into something similar to what I have.  But, we had trouble with that as finding another 18-year-old station wagon with adhesive-paper faux wood on the sides, that went out of style the day after I drove it off the lot, was an impossible task.  

The rental agency must have been having a two-for-one special, because I had to keep coming back and exchanging cars.  Personally, I think the “boys” enjoyed steering me into the newest, latest, or smallest car on the lot, just to see how the ol’ woman would do. 

They would zip through the checklist of buttons, dials, levers, gizmos, gadgets, and thingamajigs then, I’m sure, go back to the water cooler and take bets on how long it would take me to figure out how to back up.  

Every car was a new adventure and friends tell me I was lucky to get a car with the ignition on the steering column – I didn’t embarrass myself further by asking where else it could be.

One car looked like a spruced up, shrunken down mail delivery mini-van with a steering wheel so small, I could twiddle my thumbs across it.  As for the rest of my fingers, only one or two could fit into the tiny inside the door latches.  

One day I thought I had gotten a car with a sunroof, only to find myself looking up, over, and through a windshield that began perpendicular to my hairline. 

On another car, as I turned the ignition key, I did get a pleasant, if startling response.  Simultaneously, as I whipped my body around to locate the whooshing sound, all the doors automatically locked.   If not for the stiff neck and shoulder strain that ached the rest of the day, I would have appreciated that more. 

I’ve probably driven a half dozen different cars in the past two weeks and admittedly, I was impressed by a few luxuries.   Like the instant start-up and then the acceleration of a new car.  I’m sure the wagon did that once – at least once.  Now it acts like the teenager it is – impossible to wake up on the first attempt and incapable of doing anything quickly.

The gas cap on a tether is handy too, since over the years I’ve misplaced three or four of those and I have absolutely no idea where they went.  For a NYC minute, I even suspected I was being “gas lighted,” (for those of you who remember the B&W Boyer, Bergman, and Cotton film Gaslight).

And one day, I got to enjoy tinted glass windows; I always wondered what the people inside were doing in the dark.  I certinaly didn’t find anything new to do and when you look out, it’s not dark – how cool is that!

Those car rental fellas just may have unintentionally persuaded me to look at, just look at, a new car. 

Say wait a minute…if I’m even considering a new car, I’m not resisting change, and therefore I mustn’t be getting older.  Right?  Right!  Whew.

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