I can't drive 55*

It was long and lean, clean and straight, stunning with its maroon color and white convertible top. My Dad handed me the keys and said, Cmon. Im teaching you how to drive. Like any excited 16 year old, I slid behind the wheel. Stepping on the gas pedal, the car responded exactly like it should. This 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 had a 352 V-8 engine, and I could feel the power in every cell of my body. And so began my true love with fast cars.

It was short lived, however, because of the 70s gas crises and the national speed limit of 55. In the 70s and 80s, cars became short and rounded. Puffy and bloated, is what I called them. The engines, of course, were much smaller. My compact plodded along like an Amish buggy one would see in Pennsylvania or Ohio. It gave new meaning to the word horsepower and I was despondent.

My car in the 80s, a mean Torino looked very good when it was new. However, it had the fabric top, which when old, looked like it was sprouting cotton. Anyway, it was a lethargic vehicle, all looks, no action. I was bored.

In the 90s, I was very lucky to experience 160 miles per hour in NASCAR Hot Laps. I was all jazzed up with anticipation in the waiting line and was reminded of the feeling of power that I felt at 16 behind the wheel of a 352 V8. When my turn came, I climbed through the window into the passenger seat and strapped on my helmet. The driver in black beside me looked straight ahead in complete silence. I buckled up, and we blasted off like a rocket ascending into space. There is nothing else like the exhilaration of the launch in a NASCAR, even from the passengers seat. I could feel my foot press against the floorboard while silently screaming above the roar, Faster! Faster! My 45 year old body melded into the seat, and I couldnt tell the curves from the straightaway. I was alive.

Who could have predicted what happened next? Minivans and SUVs crowded our highways, and our sleek and beautiful V8s became dinosaurs destined for the junkyards. Mammoth and bulky with engines to match, I looked at those huge vehicles and thought what a waste of gas. Longing for the faraway Galaxie, reasonably I knew our dependence on foreign oil and dwindling resources caused those days to disappear forever. As we look to cars of the future with alternative fuel, they will be slower, and no doubt wont jump from the starting gate like a race horse. But then, I dont either any longer, and havent in quite awhile.

Something unforeseeable came into my life which brought it to a halt. Similar to a gas shortage, I contracted CFS, which putting it simply, causes an energy shortage of the entire body: brain, muscles and internal organs. My life is no longer Ford Galaxie or Nascar fast, but its compact car slow, or rather Amish buggy slow.

Now I ride a vehicle which has a top speed of 4 MPH. It runs on 2 batteries and will go 15 miles until the next charge. Its extremely maneuverable, revolving completely in one spot. I can drive it in nearly every room of my home and practically everywhere I go. Its very comfortable, and the seat reclines. Painted on the side is the word Jazzy.

Dressed entirely in black, I look straight ahead, and like any excited 50-ish woman with disabling CFS, I meld into my glossy maroon power chair, put my hand on the joystick and blast off. I am, at one time, in love, alive, exhilarated, and so jazzed up I cant sit still. Its a different galaxy for sure, but I really miss the roar of the engine.

*Sammy Hagar

Comments

You go, Brown-eyed Girl. It is really something to be able to move quickly when our bodies are moving so slowly. Go Jazzy.
 
Love this. Very well written. I used to love driving fast. I could think fast too. Now I think slowly and walk slowly. GO JAZZ and get JAZZED up!
 
Wonderful Blog.

Good to hear you can still get around - even if it is at only 4mph.

Is your current racing machine slim, or did you have to have doorways widened to allow movement between rooms?
 
Victoria;bt2281 said:
Wonderful Blog.

Good to hear you can still get around - even if it is at only 4mph.

Is your current racing machine slim, or did you have to have doorways widened to allow movement between rooms?
Thanks, Victoria.

It's 23.5" wide and fits easily through our standard doorways. It took some practice, though.:D
 
Thanks Gracenote, Spitfire, Victoria, and Cath. I can tell that you "get it." That means a lot to me.
 
Wonderful blog B-E-G. It took me back in time...

My first car was a '66 Mustang, followed by a '68 Camaro. Then it went all downhill...72 Chevy Impala (what a tank that was), then some other Chevy that they only made for a short time and I can't remember the model. I had a Ford Torino in there somewhere, then I bought my first Honda, the Accord. Drove that one into the ground with over 200K miles. I now have a 4-cylinder compact that putts along. Nothing will ever come close to that old mustang.

Oh wait...I just found my power animal for Victoria's garden thread...which somehow veered off into other stuff...but that should not surprise any of us ;-)
 
my first was a 58 chevy biscayne, later on 69 GTO that I once got 60 mph out of first gear alone!!!! also had a little opal GT that was really cool, got that up to 132 mph on the massachusetts turnpike late at night just before I sold it.
 
The most upsetting fact about this post, is the fact that the 352cc '65 Galaxie is actually slower than several run of the mill late models, eg. a 2.0L Mazda 3.
 

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