Having turned sixty, an absurd act on my part, wholly out of character with whom I feel myself to be, I've decided to focus on throwing myself into a mid-life crisis.
Now, there's good reason to argue that every day of everyone's life should be experienced in crisis mode, following the Zen adage of whole-hearted "hair on fire" living.
But the older we get, the more we understand that our days are limited. As is the value of our investment portfolio, particularly after the past few days.
A neighbor who's in my age ballpark cruised by a few summer months ago in a silver Miata with the top down. Naturally my first words to him included the phrase mid-life crisis. He replied that his wife told him that he's too old for one, that he must be having an end-of-life crisis.
I disagreed, pointing out that sixty is the new forty. So both of us had plenty of years to cultivate our mid-life crises.
If you think too much about how to throw yourself into a mid-life crisis, you're not having one. A crisis demands fast-acting intuition, responding to the situation without hesitation.
That said, my analytical side doesn't like to be ignored.
Thus for quite a while I've been pondering what to give myself when I turned sixty. Like my neighbor, my first (and really only) thought was what sort of two- or four-wheeled transportation would best mesh with my mid-life crisis psyche.
I've lusted after a Mini Cooper ever since they came out. However, God has not answered my prayer to have one delivered to our driveway. This led me to (1) become an atheist, and (2) turn my attention to two-wheeled cheaper alternatives.
Over a decade ago I had a motorcycle. Eventually, though, my wife's frequent prediction that I was going to kill myself helped lead me to sell it and get a Honda del Sol – which offered a quasi-open air experience but wasn't nearly as much fun.
Eventually it dawned on me that if anybody is going to take physical risks, it should be older people, because they have the fewest years of life left to lose.
With this solid philosophical foundation to guide me into older age guilt-free lusting, I felt free to fire up Google and explore today's two-wheeled motorized possibilities. Soon I came upon the Suzuki Burgman 650 maxi-scooter.
Yesterday I put down a deposit on the 2009 model, choosing white for its yin-yang balance (and visibility). It likely won't arrive until February of next year or thereabouts – in time for dryer and warmer Oregon weather.
I felt great as soon as my VISA card passed over the counter of the Suzuki dealership. My mid-life crisis had taken another turn down the just do it road. Tonight we're going to our fourth Argentine Tango lesson, more turn, turn, turn.
Dancing, particularly Tango, is a two-footed version of motorcycling/scooting. You're in the moment, not trying to get anywhere particular, intimately connected with your surroundings, not thinking much. I've vowed to do more dancing and less worrying from now on.
And, come spring, more scootering. I won't get a lot of respect from the Harley folks, but they're them and I'm me. I was pleased to see on this You Tube video, though, that the two can coexist.
My favorite part is around the seven minute mark, where a guy on a Sturgis street filled with Harleys yells to the Suzuki Burgman 650 driver, "Dude, what is that?!" He's told, "It's a giant scooter."
Here's a faster moving Burgman 650 video, showing how quiet they are compared to a Harley.