Posted by: chlost | April 9, 2013

Riding in cars with boys

Merle is there. He has it. He has it BAD.

At what age is it considered normal to suffer the mid-life crisis? If it truly is to happen at mid-life, we would have dodged the bullet by now, if we are to believe the life expectancy algorithms for males in the US.

But here we are, on the “backside of middle age” and he is having a full-blown mid-life crisis.

At least that’s what I say.

He would disagree.

Isn’t denial a classic symptom?

Of course it is.

Merle has a very long commute to the job of his dreams. He has worked approximately 70 miles from our home for about one year.

Yes, a 140 mile per day commute. We live in the NW exurbs. His job is in the SE suburbs. He must drive through the city, hitting the bad traffic on both ends of the commute. There is no public transportation option.

He has scheduled his hours to leave very early in the morning and hopefully return home mid-afternoon, ahead of the afternoon rush hour.

But it is still a long drive each way, every day.

He is currently driving a car with over 250,000 miles on it.  It is a very nice car, still in good condition. But it obviously must be replaced.

You can see where this is going, right?

This is an example of the car that he drives now.

Ours is maroon rather than silver. (When he bought this car, he was a bit worried that the maroon color was a bit too flashy for me.)

But THIS is what he wants:

Yes, a Porsche Boxster. In yellow.

He is willing to buy it used.

He has been online, looking at the used car ads. He is obsessed. He found a car like this a few weeks ago. I pointed out the practical issues.

—We live in a place with snow on the ground for 8 months of each year. It is not a winter-friendly car.

—Our garage can barely house 2 vehicles. We already have two parked on the driveway.

—Because he can’t drive the car in the winter, we would have to have another car for his winter commute.

—The winter car would have to be parked on the driveway.

—The insurance alone would take almost all of our income.

—He sits in traffic for a good portion of his commute, wouldn’t it kill him to just sit there rather than driving?

—How much more stereotypical can you get?

Then he began to tick off the positives:

—We could take off for long weekends in a fun little car. (Yeah, because he wants this for us!)

—It looks really cool.

—It’s a sportscar.

—It goes REALLY fast.

—He’s always wanted another sports car. He had a Corvette when he was in high school and has always regretted selling it.

—Did I mention that it looks really cool and it drives really FAST?

—Oh, and he spends an awful lot of time in a car every day, so he should have a car that he really loves.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think that he deserves to have a nice car. He does spend a lot of time in a car every day. But I am more of the understated “classy” over the in-your face “flashy” mindset. This is one of the biggest differences between us.

A friend at work who thinks that Merle’s idea is awesome-oh yeah, the friend is a guy-sent me an email with a possible middle ground:

Yeah, thanks. That helps.

When this friend heard me laughing when I opened the email, he told me that I would look great in that car.

Really? How great can someone look if they are not able to fit into or get themselves out of a fancy sportscar? Or if they are not able to afford the gas to drive it?

All of that aside, I have just one question for Merle that has not yet been answered.

“What do I get to buy that is as extravagant, expensive and impractical for myself?”



  1. Well, there was a time when I was having aspirations of driving something along those lines, but reality slapped me upside the head. I know the word “compromise” will not be what Merle wants to hear, BUT maybe a nice Audi Quattro. All wheel drive, decent gas consumption, German engineering, and a very nice interior. Newer used ones are affordable and he can stop by this place in Bloomington, and take a look. They have a nice Lotus there, also, if he wants something a little more exotic. Mercedes also has some nice vehicles that can be had for less than totally outrageous prices, but not all of them. We had to settle on a Subaru for all wheel drive, but even they have a turbo WRX and the new BRZ that will give you whiplash leaving the stop sign. It also tends to get you some moving violation notices. Learn from other people’s mistakes whenever you can.

    • Thanks for the info. Unfortunately for me in this situation, at our house, Consumer Reports rules for major purchases. According to Merle, the CR ratings for the cars that he wants are very good. He is not impressed with many other somewhat similar and less expensive models. He tells me that he’s “not in a hurry” to buy something, so maybe I still have a chance to talk sense into him.

  2. Hahaha, I’ve been married to a man with a continual “mid-life crisis” since he was ohhhh, maybe 25 and he’s definitely now over-the-hill but the car fascination lives on. If I told you the number of cars (and trucks) we have had over the years you would be astounded. Some for him – some for me (really??!!) some for our kids. Anyway, let me make a suggestion. How about a Porsche Cayenne? Yes, it’s an SUV with an excellent 4-wheel drive system so would be good for the winter but it’s a Porsche and drives like one. Insurance is much less than for the car version. And, it’s easy to get in and out off and because of the height has great visibility for commuting. Might be a compromise you could live with? Then again, I’m holding out for a long-arm quilting machine for my matching extravagance.

    • I think that option sounds pretty good, but he is really looking for the flashy looking sports car here. Perhaps if he actually tries to get into one, he’ll see that it is not practical for us. Hopefully.Thanks for stopping in, and for your comment!

  3. I think I’d be going for fuel economy with a commute like that! But I’ve had a couple of sports cars (an MG and a Nissan 240SX) and did love them.

    I’m a little taken aback by the idea that you have snow on the ground for 8 months.

    • Yeah. Fuel economy. What a concept.
      I suppose 8 months of snow on the ground is a bit of an exaggeration, although we do have the possibility of snow from about the end of September through April. Right now we have a fresh 6″ layer of snow that is very depressing to see out the window.

  4. Really? 8 months of snow? Maybe that is making Merle crazy, not mid-life. But seriously. Men and cars. I’ve never understood that force within them that drives them to want impractical cars. Will letting him drive one for a few months until he regains senses ruin the family financially? He’ll have a spring and summer of fun and then sell the thing when the snow flies. Money will be lost, but its only money and isn’t that why we work?

    • I don’t understand the thing about guys and cars, either. I think the guys of our generation in particular have their egos tied up in their cars. I see it as a way to get from point A to point B. I just want to get to point B without any problems. And a little leg room is good. I like your idea of a trial period. We’ll see what he does about this whole decision.

  5. This is funny! I don’t understand guys and cars. My husband has wanted a Corvette for years and said he would get one on his fiftieth birthday. I’ve insisted it will not happen because they are ridiculously expensive to purchase, maintain and insure. Our older son will be a few months shy of sixteen when hubby turns 50- I told him to call the insurance company and get a quote if he didn’t believe me…and I reminded him not to forget to mention there would be a male teen driver in the house. To my knowledge, he hasn’t called because he knows I’m right. Now, if he wants to rent one for a day, or a week, I’m fine with that!

    Good luck in finding a compromise on this one.

    • Yeah, Corvettes seem to get guys’ juices flowing. I don’t know what it is about them. It may have to do with wanting to feel young….I don’t know. I am glad that we don’t have a teen driver in the house right now. Insurance costs overall are one of our biggest expenses right now.

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