What could have been my obituary is my current blog entry.
"Youth is wasted on the young," is a famous quote attributed to George Bernard Shaw. While most of the time I believe its validity, there are other times I feel the converse is true, and that age, or wisdom, sometimes comes with it a loss of anticipation and wonderment of life and the world around us.
Many times we're in a rut, or discouraged, or feel that we haven't gotten our piece of the pie. We see others work less, make more, and somehow ride that rocket that this week we'll call Instagram.
But somehow, as if triggered by this menacing adult world, our mind will take us back to our youth and bring with it a vestige of happiness. It might be that you saw a small child eating ice cream and it reminded you of summer days spent with your aunt. At that exact moment your only care in the world was making sure you bit off the bottom of the cone and could drain the remainder of the ice cream through the hole and not have it run down your hand or the sole napkin handed to you that is now your only line of defense. Maybe it's seeing a penny on the ground. Or jumping in a puddle. Or buying Girl Scout cookies. Or watching the viral video "David After Dentist."
A recent reconnaissance mission reminded me that my life is still full of wonder.
I own an English automobile, a beautiful car called a Lotus. Sometime in March I received a note in the mail from Lotus USA. Since the car is a few years old, and the envelope was a standard mailing size and only contained one piece of paper, I thought it was a marketing piece or an update about the one or two local dealerships. I was surprised to read that it was a "RECALL" and I was receiving an "Interim Notice." In a very non-American note -- i.e., not rewritten by 50 corporate lawyers -- it stated the following:
"A failure of the oil cooler line may result in oil being deposited on the wheel and/or tire and/or brakes. This could cause reduced or loss of control, reduced braking efficiency and an increased risk of fire because of the presence of flammable vapour. This could result in a crash, serious injury or fatality."
The next paragraph made me smile, not thinking of anything remotely close to childhood and ice cream, but because it was classic:
"WHAT WE WILL DO. We will notify you again as soon as a campaign remedy is available for your vehicle."
That was in March.
Then they proceeded to give a list of indicators that something is wrong, which in summation said if you go to drive your car and you see a lot of oil under it, don't drive it. If you are driving the car, and you lose control, or see the oil indicator light flashing, and/or you smell a large vapourous odor, stop the car (if you can). Or you may die.
That was more than three months ago.
In May I had the opportunity to do a photoshoot in Oceanside, Calif. for my company utilizing two beautiful models, one being Ciara Price, Playboy Playmate in November 2011 who, like me, is from Maine. Ciara and I drove down in the company truck and our company designer drove the Lotus. On the way back we would switch up the cars -- but not the passenger configuration -- as my deisgner had to head back early. The shoot ended around 3 p.m., and we ventured back to get on the heavily-trafficked 405. Since it was a typical Southern California day, sunny and 70, I decided to take off the top of the bright yellow company car and enjoy the fresh air and company.
And that's when it happened; less than a mile before entering onto the highway, a huge odor, followed by a blinking oil indicator light, followed by gradual loss of control, followed by a 99-mile tow and four-hour trek back to Los Angeles. I had the company designer backtrack 10 miles and pick up Ciara while I waited for the tow.
And when they left me standing by the bright yellow, freshly-polished yet inoperable Lotus, I smiled. Why? Because all else failed me and my only thoughts went like this:
The good news is we took two cars, and Len and Ciara are on their way home.
The bad news is I am stranded 99 miles from home.
The good news is I have Triple A Plus (which allows for 100 miles of towing).
The bad news is I am not with a Playboy playmate.
The good news is that it did not happen on the highway or while I was driving 75 miles an hour (with a Playboy playmate).
The bad news is I am still standing here waiting to get towed and everyone is looking at me and the long trail of oil I left on the road.
The good news is I'm still alive. And so is that little kid inside of me.