I am 50 years old and I have owned a grand total of four cars in my life. The first was a 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with a hood the size of a regulation basketball court. It was basically two sofas on wheels. I bought it from my grandfather when I started law school and I drove it until the transmission blew up.
The second was a gold-colored manual transmission Geo Prizm which I bought new and owned until it got totaled when some joker without insurance decided to look at his phone instead of my brake lights. Then I bought a gold Honda Accord which I drove until a young woman freaked out that I was stopped dead in stop-and-go traffic and hit the gas instead of the brakes and totaled my car. (She did have insurance.) I replaced it with another gold Honda Accord. I like gold cars because they are the same color as the ubiquitous pollen that coats everything in the south. They hide dirt well. I’ve had that last Accord since 2010 and aside from some cosmetic damage to the outside, there’s nothing wrong with it.
As you can see, all my vehicle-related decisions have been practical ones. I drive cars ‘til they die. I bought my first car when I was 21, so I’ve been a car owner for 29 years – which makes for an average of 7.25 years ownership per car, and it would be longer than that if other drivers would pay attention to what they are doing.
So I was as surprised as anyone else when not long after my 50th birthday I started lusting after a yellow convertible Camaro. What a dumb car for a middle-aged woman to want, but want it I did. It started when I was driving down the road in my practical Accord, running practical errands, and I saw someone driving one, top down, and every cell in my body got jealous.
I didn’t say anything to anyone then, but a few weeks later I was eating a bowl of chili and it needed salt. I looked on the table for the salt shaker and found powdered garlic, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and the pepper shaker, among other things, but no salt. I lost my mind to such a degree that my son, at college 700 miles away, heard about it. Or maybe he just heard me, I was that loud.
Really, it wasn’t so much the salt shaker. It was a half-century of built up frustration. It was a good old-fashioned tantrum. It was a long time coming.
That evening, I looked at my husband and asked him why I couldn’t have a yellow convertible Camaro. I think he was still a little afraid of me blowing up and he said, “I don’t know.” Later, we saw my friend Jon who is a mechanic by trade. I asked Jon the same question, expecting him to say, “Oh, you don’t want one of those. They’re pieces of crap.” Instead he said. “No reason. Get one.”
I think Jon just wants a ride.
Turns out that the reason why I can’t get a bright, shiny, new yellow Camaro is because Chevrolet no longer sells them in yellow. They come in red and blue and white and two different greys and an acid green so disgusting I think it is illegal in three states, but not yellow. I don’t know who is In Charge of making such decisions over at Chevrolet these days, but I will state this plainly: whoever it is, is unequivocally an idiot. I try to be nice in these columns, but even I have my limits.
I test drove a white one. I may never get the knots out of my hair, but that’s ok. Look how it made me smile.
It’s a highly impractical car – the backseats are not designed to seat anyone who has graduated from third grade. The trunk space can maybe fit two gallons of milk and a loaf of bread at a time. And I don’t care. I still want a yellow one. They’re hard to find, but they can be found, a few years old, and I’m mighty determined. If the white one made me smile that much, just imagine what the yellow one will do. I will feel like one of those women in an 80s hair band video, sprawled out over the hood every time I hoist my middle-aged carcass in and out of the barely-off-the-ground bucket seats.
I will find one; I will beg Jon to look at it to see if it is mechanically sound. And then my Camaro and I will ride off into the sunset to search for my lost shaker of salt.
 According to AutoTrader, the average person keeps a car just under 6 years. This makes me above-average by well over a year, something I shouldn’t be necessarily proud of, but I find myself needing to brag anyway. No doubt I will trot this fact out to unsuspecting people at cocktail parties, assuming we ever have cocktail parties again. https://www.autotrader.com/car-shopping/buying-car-how-long-can-you-expect-car-last-240725
 Assuming I live to 100.
 I want you to know that I spelled Worcestershire correctly on the first try but I have never once gotten ‘personnel’ or ‘sheriff’ or Cincinnati’ correct without help. Double letters kill me.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com, on Twitter, or on Facebook. Her newest book, a Foreword INDIES Gold Medal award winner, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.