99,000 miles

As I drove the freeway to my film set this morning, I noticed my odometer crossing 99,000 miles. I’m pretty sure that’s the most I’ve ever driven any car in my life…and it occurred to me that my 2002 Acura RSX is a perfect metaphor for my life. It was my first “brand new car” (my earlier Acura I’d bought with 5000 miles) and The Commodore has always been just the car I wanted to drive. After 99,000 miles, he still will do 120 mph+, get there rather quickly and stop, with response and handling. 30 miles a gallon. My suspension, clutch and transmission are holding up stoutly. The body and paint look great…but that’s deceptive because, in recent years, several women have chosen to collide with me…as I waited in traffic.
So the condition of my cars body is more a function of good insurance and good body shops.

But you know, 99,000 miles is a lot of driving in 8 years. Who knows when my clutch or my five-speed may choose to go south? I drive hard and fast, always have; I enjoy driving a car that performs.

I’ve driven my own body pretty hard, too. Tough mileage comparison to make but now 66, given surgeries after Vietnam, football, parachuting, motorcycle accidents, two knee scopes and 25 years of step class, I’m long past my warranty and “use by” dating. Yet somehow I appear surprisingly well maintained – at least externally – despite (or perhaps due to) Pall Malls, alcohol, caffeine, anti-depressants and other palliatives.

I could trade in The Commodore and buy another car. I just can’t feel jazzed about doing it. The M6 (or M5) is interesting and the JAG is a great looking car…or maybe another ACURA. I like them. I’ve driven an ACURA for 15 years now.
Brand loyalty. “If it ain’t broke…”
Pall Malls. If you’re going to smoke, smoke a decent cigarette. 50 years. They stop making Pall Malls, I’ll stop smoking.

But I can’t very well trade in my body…this physical presence present. I’m not even sure I’d choose, so to do, even if I could. Oh, a few minor repairs, sure. Fix up the knee, remove the shrapnel, refurbish the lungs, perk up the vision…but in general, while I can no longer do much of what I once could…there remains a surprisingly generous capacity to maintain. So I am grateful. And perhaps inclined to drive The Commodore until he tells me that it’s time to make a change.

We owe each other that much.

22 June 2010