The Subtle Effects of Aging

Any male over the age of about 20 that’s had a car knows that their car was the shit, even if it was, well, shit. It was everything. It was a mark of freedom, but more importantly, an extension of self. And how many guys in that particular position can say they didn’t spend an unusual amount of time lovingly cleaning and waxing the thing, now matter how lame it actually was in retrospect? My first car, that 1990 Chevy Baretta, was one of those 2nd-generation-Malaise-Era* cars that only slightly less garbage than the 1st gen, and yet I loved it and tried, during its brief stay with me, to keep it shiny and new looking.¬†

Shortly ago, I was going through a similar routine. Carefully wiping down the surface, then spraying it with a nice polish and wiping that too, with a clean cloth of course. Following that was the wax spray, and then yet another cloth to wipe it down in that all-too-familiar circular motion. Wax on, wax off. Except this time it had nothing to do with a car. This time it was the granite counters in the kitchen. I love them. They’re the shit.

In the middle of the latter process it dawned on me how I’ve changed in mentality. Waxing the car was, subconsciously at least, an effort of vanity rooted in an attempt to pick up women. As an older and more mature individual (married, too, incidentally), I know that the highly polished and gloriously smooth counter tops are more likely to attract women of the age range in which I’d be interested WHICH I’M TOTALLY NOT since I’m married. Ahem.

Of course I find the realization funny, which is why I felt the need to share… in the middle of watching an antiques program and chatting with friends of similar age, most of whom I’ve known for the better part of a decade online, about how wonderful granite countertops are. And it all comes crashing down on me again, the realization that I’m old. Sigh. The wisdom of age has definitely brought a stronger idea of what quality¬†really is, though. And just how meaningful it is. So, you know… I recommend granite countertops.

*My favorite car blog, Jalopnik, coined the term “malaise era” to refer to that time in the 70’s and early 80’s when American car manufacturers, largely in response to the oil crisis of the time, just kind of stopped innovating at all. This era is said to end around 1983. I’ve felt for a few years now, though, that a second variation of this extended into the late 90’s. Not that there wasn’t innovation in the 2nd gen, just that there was a still lot of garbage that was meant to look good but was nevertheless crap. A few gems certainly started to shine through, but the American market didn’t really start hitting a new stride until 2000 or so. I loosely define the end of that 2nd malaise era as the invention of the Ford Focus. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.