Slowing Down In Your Old Age? Fine. But Don't Be So Literal About It!
Downgrading to an econobox when you hit your 70s will not defer your inevitable demise. If anything, you'll end up begging to shed your mortal coil.
I used to know a lovely man a few years back. He was the grandfather of the girl I was with at the time. His was a story of a grand and successful life, really making something of himself in post-war Britain, rising through the ranks of the world of business, to become something of a local titan.
Indeed, being a red-blooded and well-to-do man in his prime throughout the 1960s and 70s, his history of automobiles was one worthy of great envy; Daimlers, V12 Jaguars, BMWs (before their grilles were designed to compensate for small penises) amongst a plethora of other petrol powered pornography.
When I met the aforementioned girl back in the mid-2000s, pappy was driving around and rightly enjoying his retirement in a classic BMW. It was a while back now and I wasn't as up on older cars as I am now, but from memory it was a light blue metallic 6-Series with the iconic shark nose. He clearly loved it as it was very well looked after and an absolute symbol of aspiration for everyone's twilight years.
I mean as far as retirement goes... wow.
Beautiful. What a way to reward yourself after a life of hard work. Surely he'd pretty much be buried in it, right? Wrong.
Not long into this relationship of ours, she told me her Grandad had purchased a brand new car. I thought "ooh, I wonder what it could be...?" A number of exotic and prestige vehicles filled my mind. A Porsche 911? Mercedes S-Class? Bentley Continental GT? He certainly had the funds. I was brimming with anticipation to see what would come wafting down the road to check in with his family.
Imagine my despair then, when a 2006 Toyota Corolla with a CVT auto box turned up outside the house. This couldn't be right. Maybe it was a courtesy car? No. This was it. This was the box that Gramps had chosen to see out his years driving into the sunset. I couldn't believe that he had chosen this and paid for it with his own money, even less so that he seemed genuinely enthused by it. The family weren't really car people so saw no issue and were very happy for him. For me though, my disappointment was hard to hide.
I was quite young at the time, having not long passed my driving test, but still, the thought that one's desire for luxury, power and poise suddenly dies in one's later years filled me with a dread not since replicated. I saw myself in 60 years' time cutting the brakes to an Aston Martin and flooring it off the edge of a cliff, ending my life in a fireball of glory and excitement, as that was certainly preferable to giving up while I have a good ten years left and just stuttering to a slow demise in a Japanese or Korean shitbox.
I hoped that he was just an anomaly, but since growing older myself in the intervening years to the point where I am now well into my thirties, it is sadly the norm. My own Grandfather, who was a driving instructor and spent his whole driving life having to put up with small hatchbacks, kerbed wheels and stalled starts at traffic lights, always promised himself a Jaguar when he retired. And what did he get when the day finally came? A Honda fucking Jazz. Why are you all doing this to yourselves? Spend your children's inheritance! You know you've earnt it!
So, my message to boomers is clear: you are the next bunch to enter this point in your life. For once, be the generation that instigates change for the better. Buy that car you always promised yourself. Give all of us a glimmer of hope for our own retirement. Not that we'll ever be able to retire at any reasonable age but that's a conversation for another place.