Cruising in Grandma's Olds

The Oldsmobile parked outside my apartment door is a relic, a dinosaur, a horse that has been put out to pasture. This week that Oldsmobile was also my only form of transportation.

An Oldsmobile is, as it is appropriately named, an old person's car. If you were to strip an Olds down to its skeletal framework, or just open up the hood, you would see that at the heart of every Oldsmobile there is a pacemaker. I think this is why General Motors has promised to discontinue the Oldsmobile line. Not because they weren't making money, but because every time an Olds driver got their car within 50 ft of a microwave oven the pacemaker would give out and the car would shutdown.

When my grandmother went out of town and asked if I'd watch the Olds, it wasn't my intention to drive her car. But, leaving my apartment to pick up Penny and Amy so we could eat, my car wouldn't start. The battery was fit for the obituaries and I was left with a choice: Take out or take the Olds? Geritol. Martha Stewart. Prunes. I took the Olds.

Climbing into my grandmother's car was like adding 42 years of driving skills to my 33-year-old body. By the time I picked up Penny and Amy, I had become a 75-year-old man driving 45 mph in the fast lane of the interstate with my left turn blinker flashing the entire way.

The problem, I found, is that Oldsmobiles are too comfortable. For instance, the driver's seat on my car has two positions. One allows the driver to sit close to the steering wheel. The other doesn't. An Oldsmobile seat has more pampering preferences to cushion your tush than most of its drivers have original teeth left in their mouth. Tilt, lumbar, up, down, left, right, close or far. The only thing missing in this car was a button labeled "Nurse."

At the red lights I came to that I didn't accidentally run, I'd spend time adjusting my seat until the driver behind me would honk their horn to notify me that the light had changed to green

"Damn honking kids," I'd think. "What's your hurry? Are you late for your appointment to buy more drugs?"

Penny and Amy weren't immune to the wily ways of the Oldsmobile either. Penny rode up front and treated the electronic options of her chair like it was an amusement ride at The Wonderful World of Geriatric Land. And Amy sat in back shouting warnings like, "You're driving too fast," "Watch out for that truck!" and "Oh, great. Now we're lost."

Truth be told, even with a back seat driver and a passenger who played "Tilt a Whirl" with her chair, we did get lost. The restaurant we were looking for was new but it wasn't hidden or hard to find.

Note: Ginkgo biloba is a natural herb that is supposed to improve your memory once you reach that certain "Oldsmobile Age." Since we didn't know we were taking the Olds, we didn't know we needed to take Ginkgo biloba pills. Question: If you're at that stage when you need to take Ginkgo biloba, how do you remember to take Ginkgo biloba without actually taking the Ginkgo biloba?

We stopped at a 7-11 and asked a nice young man (who unlike most convenient store clerks looked like he bathes) for directions.

After finding the diner and eating a meal in which only two out of the three of us had to return our food to be re-cooked to our exact specifications, we climbed back into the comforts of the AARP-endorsed Oldsmobile. Then we complained about everything. From the weather to fact that the new year is no longer a "nice round number." When I got home, I turned on Matlock, put on slippers and took a nap. For the love of God, grandma, please come get your car. I want to act my age, not yours.


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