I had always expected to stay “down south”, closer to my Miami roots. My job at the time made the move sensible, as it was a (relatively) quick jaunt to work from my current home, mostly avoiding the dreaded prospect of I-95.
Another benefit of the move was being even closer to my Dad and Stepmom, allowing me more frequent opportunities to get together with them.
Since the time of my departure from the working world seven years ago, I’ve been able to take that a step further. Since then, when I stop by for a visit and we inevitably pop out for a bite to eat, I do the driving.
Often, I simply pick the two of them up at the front door to their condominium building (occasionally shoveling in a niece or two). That was much easier during the time when I was driving my Toyota Avalon.
When I picked up my Subaru Legacy last January, it marked two significant changes for the family. First, I could no longer comfortably fit five. The Avalon had the brilliant design to eliminate the “hump” in the floor in the back, allowing even the middle passenger to stretch their legs.
The second, and surprisingly more troubling, change was that the new car was white.
After 20 years of owning black cars, I now owned a white one. Smarter for South Florida and its “Sunshine State” location; not so smart for people of increasing years who might not remember what color the car is.
That group included me for quite some time. I would say it was at least a couple of months before I got used to looking for a white car in parking lots. I’m sure I looked as dumb as I felt wandering around trying to figure out where my car went (this despite the unique vanity plate I own).
For my Stepmom, the confusion continues, even a year later. It’s common for me to be sitting downstairs waiting for them and my Stepmom will look right through and past my car. Eventually, she will recognize me (or my Dad or I will point it out to her).
20 years builds in a lot of habits and expectations. It may be a while before everyone can grasp that white is the new black.