Here in the retirement home I’ve noticed an exclusive clique that meets regularly. They gather in the far corner of the coffee lounge and shut their mouths the moment anyone comes close to where they are sitting. Yesterday I stumbled across the answer – nonagenarian drivers! These few men and one woman hold regular meetings where they discuss their driving, ask each other for advice on how to renew their licenses and exchange stories of their adventures and conquests on the roads.
I approached the one man that I recognized and suggested that I may be interested in becoming a member. “How old are you?” he asked. “A few months over 80,” I replied. “Come back in ten years, sonny! I can’t even talk to you yet! Say, do you want to come with me? I’m just popping down to the mall to pick up shoes I left for repair. And you can help me into my car.” I looked at him in amazement. He needs help getting into his car but then he’s going to drive it?
His car is old and battered. “There were a lot of concrete columns in the last place I lived,” he apologized, pointing his walking stick at the bodywork. With much groaning I got him behind the wheel and I went around to the passenger seat. He fired up the engine and backed out slowly. He made a complicated 8-point maneuver to get the car out of its parking slot and then zoomed out into the traffic without so much as a glance in the rearview mirror. Cars racing down the street swerved and hooted and a couple sent messages with their fists and fingers. “Everyone is so impatient these days,” he muttered. “They shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car at all.”
A pizza boy on a motor scooter shot into the road and I thought my driver swerved towards him. “That’s the third time I’ve missed that guy this week,” he said. “I’ll get him one of these days.”