Mini Me

My midlife crisis ended last night, thank god.  The only problem is, I’m just not sure what comes next.

How do I know it’s over?  Did I decide that, yes, I really do sound just like my mother and it’s OK?  Did I get rid of my trophy spouse?  Did I decide that, really, combined sky diving/mountain climbing/yoga is just not for me?

Not exactly.  My husband John and I sold the symbol of my crisis:  my 2004 Mini Cooper S. It was medium blue with white racing stripes on the bonnet, a kick-ass six-speed manual transmission and a delightful engine of some sort that let me go from 0 to 60 as fast as I damn well pleased.

In my Mini, I drove like a demon; I knew it would never get me into an accident, because it would just slip out of the most treacherous predicaments.  Actually, I knew that I’d never get in an accident because other drivers were unfailingly nice to me, as if I were their favorite niece, and they were just letting me go off to have some fun.  Everybody smiles at Mini drivers.

In fact, when I first got it, I didn’t even know I was having a midlife crisis.  Imagine that!  I thought I’d bought it because it was fun AND because my building’s parking lot is a pain.  I joked about the lot one day to John, who then test drove a Mini with our son Jacob, the next day.  They ordered me to get one.  I really had no choice.

So imagine my surprise more than a year later when I picked up that copy of Vanity Fair at the hairdresser’s.  That’s how I learned that my baby, my Mini meant that I was, well, reaching a new stage in life.  You see, it is one of three cars chosen by women having a midlife crisis!  Actually, I felt gypped.  The article told me that the other cars were the Mercedes SLK500 convertible 2 passenger roadster and the Audi TT convertible.

Damn, I thought, those cars are 4 and 3 times the price of the Mini.  My midlife crisis was a bloomin’ bargain.  I felt like a floosy.

Still, it served its purpose — it gave everybody in town a chance to laugh at me.  Me, I didn’t need a trophy wife, a Porsche, or a big stinky cigar to prove I’d lost it.  To prove that there was a reason to laugh at me.

I blame the car.  I blame my dog, Cooper, because he hates to be left behind at home.  I blame that handsome guy.  Me,  I was innocent.

It happened one day when Cooper and I stopped by Safeway.  As he had a million times before, Cooper waited impatiently in the car, breathless for my return.

“Hewwo, Misterrrrr Cooooooper,” I said to Cooper when I got back with my groceries.  Naturally since I’d been gone for 10 minutes, I had to speak to him in my baby-talkin’-est way.  “Mommy’s back, Sweetheart.  Was Cooper a good boy while Mommy was gone?”

The handsome middle-aged man standing at the car next to mine looked panicky.  He was gawking at me, clearly scared.  His mouth opened and closed like Charlie McCarthy on quaaludes, and he was breathing faster and faster; he was hyperventilating and clearly thinking:

“I am standing next to a woman who is talking baby talk to her car

She is crazy.” 

Of course, I realized almost immediately why he thought so.

“Oh, no,” I said, laughing.  “I was talking to my dog.  His name is ‘Cooper.’”  Charlie McCarthy closed his mouth, got into his Porche and drove off, laughing.  But I’m pretty sure he wasn’t laughing with me.

I was half way home, still wiping tears out of my eyes, before I realized that I’d owned the car for four years.  And that Cooper and I had been going all around town together in the Mini Cooper the whole time.   The whole town now thinks I’m nuts, I realized with an accepting sigh.

So, really, I embarrassed myself every bit as much with my Mini and with my Cooper as any man with his trophy wife could have.

And so, while I’m sad to see the Mini go, I’m ok with ending the midlife crisis bit.  But I’m just not quite sure what comes next.  Well, after the trophy husband, that is.

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14 Comments

Filed under Humor

14 responses to “Mini Me

  1. Marianne Baker

    This is terrific. Lease. Easily one of your best pieces, and that’s really saying something! Let me know when you’ve replaced John. I want him. I have a thing for curmudgeons.

  2. Very funny mama. I am about a stage behind you, as probably on the same day you ditched your midlife crisis vehicle, i bought a minivan….

    • You have always been a stage behind me — and I love my window into your world. Your adventures with your kids make me smile, laugh and remember. So enjoy the minivan, but keep lots of cleaning supplies in it. Everybody puked in mine.

  3. Moi

    A-HA! Now I know why my hairdresser’s sister bought herself a Mini Cooper! And now I know why when, after she sold it, and I asked her where it was, she shrugged her shoulders and shook her head like I brought up some taboo subject.

    Hey, funny lady, I love your writing. You are the untangler of life mysteries!
    L

  4. Not everyone driving a Mini is having a midlife crisis — some are just crazy kids, or juvenile delinquents or demented old farts. The pudgy women with one too many chins, though — you can bet money on it. They are IN CRISIS!

    Thanks for your nice comments — Go Bettybabe!

  5. Clinton

    awww, snif. Mini go bye-bye?

  6. Nel

    I like the Mini Cooper. I think it’s one nifty car. :)

    One question, who was with you first Cooper the car or Cooper the dog?

    • Cooper the dog came first, and the name was given to him by the breeder. His full name is Gary Cooper, but our Cooper is not the big brave, strong, silent type. He’s a sweet cowardly sort.

      The weekend after we got him, we went for an outing and stumbled upon a car rally of, you guessed it, Mini Coopers.

  7. Pingback: Git Along Little Doggies | FiftyFourandAHalf

  8. Thanks for directing me back to this one. Love the scene in the parking lot with the guy. Awesome. Of course, the names were already playing a game with my head … thus what made the story even better! Interestingly, our street currently has FOUR Minis on it … and before this, I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone with one!

    • It still makes me giggle. And you know what? A week after we got Cooper (in Switzerland) we took him to the town of Morges on Lake Geneva. There was a car rally there that day — Mini Coopers (the old ones, the new ones hadn’t yet come out)!

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