First, let me point out that I know this whole “Bucket List” concept is now part of the lexicon thanks to a 2007 Rob Reiner work that I enjoyed but refuse to watch anymore because I always end up a blubbering mess at the end. Having confirmed long ago that I am allergic to my own tears, and not enjoying the sensation of my eyes swelling shut or having to breathe through my mouth for an hour, I have forgone the viewing of this movie permanently. However, I do recommend it if you have not seen it, you enjoy a tear-jerking “dramedy” (comedy-drama) and you can tolerate your own bodily fluids better than I.
Well, I need to, because I hate them.
When I was growing up my mother taught me NOT to throw my body into oncoming traffic. And that seemed to make all the sense in the world. I lived on a very, very busy corner in the Bronx and, having witnessed the aftermath of those who did not listen to their parents about the dangers of car vs. human body, I learned to heed this warning at a very early age.
Enter the 21st century, and we have these new laws that require a car to stop if someone has entered the crosswalk, an area of (usually) white lines painted across the pavement like a misplaced ladder. It’s a high concept, and I get the premise upon which it is based: there’s a lot of traffic and pedestrians, who are higher on the community food chain than those occupying their automobiles, should be able to do something as simple as get from one side of the road to the other.
My mother-in-law passed away just over a year ago, and my father-in-law is just beginning to show signs of emerging from a most understandable funk. I’m more than glad for him. I think he and I have had more meaningful conversations now than in the entire previous twenty years we have known each other. Not quite the phoenix rising, but more like a bird pecking his way out of a shell. And I’m happy for him.
So it was most unfortunate when he lost just about everything in a river storm surge during the part of Hurricane Irene that hit us here in New York. This included his car. Surprisingly, he took it all in stride.
The conversation between his children then had to turn to finding him a home AND a new car (and some clothes and shoes as well). Sent out on his own one day, he put a deposit on a BMW, sight unseen, and with no haggling whatsoever. One daughter put the kabosh on that.
And so back and forth they went. He told them a number of times how he’s always wanted a Mercedes Benz or a BMW. His daughters, being logical, smart young women who care deeply for their father, discussed the merits of an Acura over a Lexus. Something sensible. His son, my husband, vacillated between his father’s dream and sensibility.
A phone call from sister to brother, she calling from the back of a New York City taxi cab to discuss the same topic, may have made the decision a little easier.