Tag Archives: driving

#s94-100: How Not To Vacation Old, Part 2

Okay, in the last installment, we got you carefully and finally out of the house. Whee! But you still have to make it to your vacation destination without acting old. Let’s go:

1. If you’re flying, do not get to the airport three and a half hours ahead of time. Yes, it takes a while to get through security these days: maybe 17 minutes. Then you’ve still got a whole three hours and 22 minutes to kill, and there are only so many Auntie Anne’s pretzels a person can eat.

2. Do not dress up for the flight. Assuming you’re neither the pilot nor a flight attendant, there is no need to wear a tie, skirt, hat with a shiny visor, shoes more formal than flipflops, or a bra. If you feel sloppy, you can always add epaulets with gold stars to your pajamas.

3. Don’t make friends with the person sitting next to you. Unless it’s ScarJo.

4. If you’re driving, no maps. Definitely no AAA Trip-tiks. GPS and Mapquest should get you there.

5. Do not complain, each and every time you fill up, about how expensive gas has gotten, as if you’re surprised that the price didn’t drop to $1 a gallon in the time it took you to drive 200 miles.

6. No scenic routes. Scenic routes, with their cows and their small towns, their speed traps and their no-passing zones, are old — and they’re often not even that scenic anymore.

7. If you get lost and have to pull into a gas station to ask for directions, don’t keep nodding as if you totally understand and then turn the wrong way right out of the parking lot. Not that you’ve ever done that, honey.

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#67: Don’t Put It In Cruise Control

Remember cruise control? When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and get myself a fancy car with cruise control. I’d set that baby at 75, sit back, and feel like one of the Jetsons.

Well, I now have a car with cruise control. I guess. The fact is that I’ve never used it. My husband has never used it. I even forgot what it was called until I just went out and looked in the manual. The last person I heard of using cruise control was my father-in-law, back in the 90s, and it seemed like a relic even then.

Cruise control is one of those technological innovations that was futuristic until it was suddenly passe. The subject of acting old as it connects to cars and driving can be confusing. Is it older to drive a hot red sportscar or a big old Cadillac? To creep along hunched over the wheel or drive like a maniac?

But when it comes to putting it in cruise control, literally as well as figuratively, the connection is clear. Which reminds me of a joke told today in the writing class I’m taking with the divine Lynda Barry, author of the excellent new book What It Is, who is either the youngest old person I’ve ever met or the world’s oldest living child. Here’s Lynda’s joke:

One day Helen and Mary, two old and aged friends, went out for a drive. They come to a stop sign and Helen sailed right through. Mary was nervous but didn’t say anything. They come to another stop sign, and again, Helen didn’t even slow down. Then they came to a red light, and Helen just kept going, barely avoiding oncoming cars.

Finally Mary had to say something. “Helen,” she said, “why didn’t you stop at those stop signs and that red light?”

“Oh,” Helen said. “Am I driving?”


I’m leaving the fashion and beauty advice to How Not To Look Old. But I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this hair salon I passed today, in case you want a hairstyle that is not merely young or old but otherworldly.

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#13: Unless You’re In Nagasaki, Don’t Give (Or Ask) Directions

Once, looking for a swimming hole in Maine, a local told me to turn left where the old school burned down. That’s what giving directions is like these days. In this era of Mapquest and GPS, it’s meaningless to tell someone to turn left at the church and go under the railroad trestle and look for the yellow house.

Let the computer do the work for you. If the other person gets lost, blame it on their digital guide. When we all have chips implanted in our brains, we’ll never again have any need to know where we are or where we’re going: We’ll just go and do whatever and wherever Google tells us.

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