Just Like Bogie and Bacall

By Rose Ann Sinay

I get into my Camaro and practically fall into the seat it’s so low to the floor. I have to extend my body sideways, three quarters out of the vehicle to grab the long, heavy door to close it. I sit back for a moment to recover from the effort and turn the ignition key. The radio is loud and soothing. I close my eyes, and my hand automatically adjusts my seat to support my over-stretched muscles. I turn the volume up louder as Cecilia, my favorite song, begins to play. My body starts to twist and bob to the snappy tune and in my mind I’m 18 again.

The Camaro was not my idea. I didn’t want it. Whenever I saw a brand spanking new sports car, I just knew the driver had gray hair, wore loafers with no socks and played ‘60s music loud enough to take out his/her hearing aid for a while. I did not want us to be one of “them”– at least not yet. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t seem to be aware of that perception. When Terry first suggested looking for a new vehicle, a nice sporty model, I laughed at him.

I loved my old car – a no-nonsense, family oriented Volvo that had gotten our family to and from sporting events, school functions and family trips. It was safe, durable and tire kicking dependable. It had been christened years ago with ice cream that melted in the seams of the seats, along with dried ketchup and dog drool. The radio dial was worn from being switched between my daughter and son’s favorite stations. That Volvo was family in a capsule. It would be as hard to give up that car as it was to throw out the kids’ baby teeth (no, I never did).

My husband thought he was being strategic. He took me to my favorite Thai restaurant. We hit a couple of shops that just happened to be near the dealership.

“Oh, look,” he said as we drove by a lot filled with shiny, colorful vehicles. My sedate, obedient Volvo turned into the entrance.

Terry practically jumped out of the car hightailing it to a yellow and white super sport that had caught his eye. I groaned. Since Terry drove a truck most of the time, it would be me that would be driving his mid-life crisis–a dream of his youth.

I caught up to him as he peered in the windows and admired features that I knew (or cared) nothing about. There was a look on his face I hadn’t seen in years. “No yellow. No red. And, definitely no racing stripes.” I sighed as I realized this was one battle I might lose.

A salesman approached us. He was young, charming and savvy. He wasn’t at all surprised that we (ahem, a slightly older couple) were looking at muscle cars. He seemed to know I was the hold out, so he talked directly to me.

“Hi, I’m Greg,” he said with a smile. “This is a great car. Why don’t you just take a spin around the block? See how it drives. It may not be for you,” he said to me with a wink.

“But, I’m sure I can show you something you’ll like. Stay right here, I have a car ready to go.”

“Of course he does,” I said to my husband as Greg broke into a jog. That young man had my number. He knew he had to be quick, or I might run away.

In seconds, he was back revving the 304 horse power engine of a maroon, Rally Sport Camaro with a raised hood that sported two thick black stripes down its center. The car was sleek. It was shiny. It was a thing of beauty.

“I know it’s red, but we can get you any color you want.” Greg assured me.

“It’s maroon,” I corrected him. A perfect rich maroon. I hated that I loved it. The matte black stripes were complementary, not at all ostentatious.

We’d already rounded first and probably second base, I thought miserably.

“You drive it,” my husband offered as a token of sacrifice.

“Oh no,” I said watching him put his sock-less, loafer clad foot into the car. The inside smelled of freshly polished leather, the chrome gleamed and the dashboard lit up like an adventure. The car had energy – I could feel it vibrating up my spine. My husband pressed the accelerator with determination. The ramped purr of the engine spiked the electric feel of the interior.

We settled back into those leather seats and as we pulled out of the lot, I turned on the (satellite) radio. It was set to the ‘60s station, of course. The Beach Boys greeted us with 409 by the Beach Boys. Third base, I said to myself.

My husband’s demeanor seemed to change as the car shifted gears, and he weaved smoothly between cars with the ease of his 25 year-old self. The contoured seats seemed to cup us in its hands, saying, hold on – let’s go for a real ride. It definitely wasn’t a family car. It had a “it’s me and you, kid” feeling:  Bogie and Bacall, Rhett and Scarlett, John and Yoko, Bonnie and Clyde. It did not include Rover or kids.

Too quickly, we were back at the dealership. We let the engine idle as we listened to the end of Mustang Sally. We heard the knock on the window but ignored it.

“Home run,” I said. “Let’s do it.”

I turn down the radio as I back out of the garage. I’m on my way to Walmart to pick up vitamins and hair color. A muscle twinges in my back. I’m not sure if it’s from stretching to shut the damn door, or if my impromptu chair dancing was a little too ambitious. That reminds me I need Advil. I’m definitely not 18 anymore. I change the station to Doctor Radio.

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay

    Rose Ann Sinay

    Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer newly relocated to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. She continues to write about moments worth remembering, graciously provided by family and friends.

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10 Responses to “Just Like Bogie and Bacall”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Oh my, Rose Ann, this is one of my all time favorites of yours.
    I once had a 1967 Mustang. I can relate to your story, but at this point I’m content with my small SUV.

  2. Sandy Forde says:

    What a fun short story to read. Having ridden in that car on several occasions I can certainly relate to your experiences. Not easy to get in and out but once settled you may feel young again and that is an exciting experience. Enjoy while you can there is plenty of time for the Volvo.

    • Rose Ann says:

      I pretend getting in and out of the car is exercise, LOL! Thanks for reading, commenting and taking those rides with me :)

  3. Joan Eaton says:

    Boy Rose Ann another hit. I can see my lime green Mustang just like it was yesterday. I can relate to the Advil. Seats low to the ground don’t work well anymore!!

  4. Erika Hoffman says:

    Yeah, your husband’s desire for a muscle car resonates. Mine was for a convertible Sebring and I got one when I turned 50. Then, my daughter -in-law needed a car for school and I lent it to her. And well, someone smashed into her. Luckily she wasn’t hurt. Did I take the insurance money and buy another “en pleine air” vehicle. No. I’d scratched the itch. I had had the car a couple of years before its demise and I realized how limited one is with a convertible when the weather changes. So… I think it is not a mid-life crisis but a passage— to have one’s dream car at least once during one’s lifetime! Good story!

  5. Mary Ann says:

    I always wondered why you drove a “Muscle Car.” Your beautiful writing always takes me someplace else, and I enjoy being there.

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