Sunday, 13 October 2013
Life of Brian
It's a question that becomes increasing urgent as you move along life's tramways.
In your teens, you're absorbed by the thought that maybe you should stop sucking your thumb or taking ear less,eye less, leg less "Teddy" to bed.
In your twenties, you may be struck by the thought that it's possibly not cool to still like Cliff Richard or The Carpenters.
In your thirties, you might be prompted by friends' comments to reconsider the wisdom of getting totally legless every Friday night and ending up in A&E.
In your forties, much to your chagrin, you have to acknowledge that the big belly and tight Levis a la Clarkson look may be the reason you've been passed over for promotion yet again.
In your fifties, while you still feel twenty one inside and as keen as mustard, maybe that twenty one year old you've been chatting up just sees a man of her dad's age.... in a ludicrous wig and platform shoes.
By your sixties, you've sorted out all your self deceptions and misconceptions. You can look life and yourself dead in the eye and ask "Am I too old to own a Porsche 911?"
A quick check on your physical condition may provide the answer. The car's closeness to the ground and the stiffness of your joints may mean that the only way you could get in and out of that super car is with a suitably modified mechanised bath lift.
Even if your joints are as well oiled as when you were twenty, your brain may well have suffered considerable sooting up. There's little point in being able to drive at 140 miles an hour if it takes 10 minutes for your brain to register a red light 100 yards away and a further ten minutes for the "apply brake" signal to travel from the brain to foot.
Young policemen are a danger here. You've managed to clamber into your 911 S, with some difficulty you've halted at the traffic lights when a young (very attractive) police woman in one of those souped up BMW draws up next to you and pulls you...over. She asks to see your license. The combined look of surprise and concern on her face is not helpful.
Next she asks you to read the registration of that car an impossibly long way away. Just as you pull away thanking her profusely she suggests that you might want to swap the Porsche for a Fiat Panda .."The insurance will be so much less", she adds helpfully.
The missus also may have views. Certainly when she opens the boot and finds the engine where she was expecting to see acres of shopping bag space she will. She may also express thoughts about attracting the attention of the neighbours as you roar up the road at 20 mph and the racket you make trying to parallel park. Worse of all she may think the purchase of a sports car is a precursor to a late life crisis full of debauchery, Eastern European teens and botox.
Luckily, I was sitting at the lights in my Vauxhall Astra the other day when this extremely expensive sports car drew up next to me. It was noisy, it was shiny, it was low and in the passenger seat was this lovely sophisticated beauty. The driver was about my age, bald with a belly that cushioned the steering wheel. As he accelerated away, he flashed his artificially whitened teeth at me.
"Am I too old to own a Porsche 911?" No, but I wouldn't want to risk looking like that old has been.
Mind you, I'm not too old to be a jet pilot. In a favourable light I look a bit like Tom Cruise.