Sunday, August 10, 2014

Now is the Time to Honor Summer Flings

Originally printed in RLife

Years ago, while touring my husband's country of origin with his aunt, Cupid blindsided me. 

Perhaps it was the quick city tour from the left side of the road, starring Big Ben, and the Tower of London, maybe it was his aunt's crisp, posh accent, but I knew deep in my heart, that I was irrevocably in love. With her classic, Hunter Green Range Rover. 

A few years later, when it was time for us to buy a car, lust and desire filled my heart with a madness of longing. I wanted one. My practical husband said we could buy a Range Rover if I didn't mind putting a mechanic on the payroll.

Ah, well, he was probably jealous.
I put this longing aside, and decided to be a faithful wife.  And for ten years, I was. I drove a serviceable minivan. I safely hauled kids around, as well as hundreds of cubic feet of camp gear. But there was no spark, and inwardly, I railed against this tyranny of monogamy.
Speeding along the freeway, or pulling up to the car pool, no one could possibly imagine my past: walking through the cobbled Parisian streets at four in the morning, sighting the soldiers with their rifles guarding the Albanian border, or weeks spent on the Adriatic coast, nude sunbathing.

Sitting in my van with the peeling wood side-paneling I was just like the millions of mothers around me. People saw carpools and Oreo cookies. Anticipation, excitement, a return to the illicit thrills and passion of youth was what I craved. It was time to push the minivan over a cliff, put a bullet in its heart, and move on, preferably to some flashy bad boy model. 

Only then did I realize I had been carrying a torch. The Range Rover remained idiosyncratic, quirky, provocative. It would know me, understand me, sense my every mood. Now observers would know a woman like me could wipe the rattlers and the tumbleweeds from the bush bar as I trekked through the desert . Yes, it was an environmentally heedless dream. But remember, it is better to love too well, if not too wisely.

Ultimately I was reunited with my 1994 Range Rover Hunter Green Classic model. My husband, probably intrigued by thoughts of a menage a trois, agreed and we bought it. Later that winter we drove to Reno, to Denver, to Santa Fe, to the Grand Canyon and back, the six cd changer crooning in my ear the entire way.

Unfortunately, when we returned home, the honeymoon was over.

You see, each week, bits would fall off, plastic, metal, rubber, revealing my new love to be, well, past its prime. When the panel to the fuse box fell off, my 9 year old was delighted to test the fuses en route. Once those were fiddledwith the moon roof wouldn't budge and the car alarm sounded at the worst moments, like when I started the car. As gas prices rocketed, my gas mileage plummeted. My car had turned into something needy, demanding, and imperious.

After spending the equivalent of a decent family vacation on essential repairs, I ran errands and went to retrieve my children from school. My key froze in the ignition. During my call to Auto Club the operator asked for the make and model. 
When I told him, he said, "Wow."

"Wow, as in you get a lot of these calls?"

"No, wow as in it's a Range Rover."

I took a deep breath. I glanced at the parking lot, where my car waited, out of ear shot, resolutely immobile, unaware of the coming betrayal, It was time. My heart was pounding wildly. In a low voice I asked, "You looking to buy?"

Road side assistance demurred.

Next time I long for a fling, I'll settle for a strategically placed tattoo or piercing.


  1. You can test drive the tattoo with a fake. My affair is still going strong (not the fake tattoo) but the Toyota truck

  2. The next time I long for a fling, I think I'll order up an Amado.

    1. We must set a date for quality control--

  3. Nothing lasts forever, but oh, however brief the moment, you made a lovely couple.