Magnificence in the Mundane View All Posts

About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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Mileage Check

odometerPeople say that 50 is the new 30. Or that age is just a number. But all those adages mean nothing when your age smacks you in the face. Like it did the day I went to test drive a shiny, new 2016 car.

Once you slide into that driver’s seat, you immediately fossilize. Your bones will feel brittle as you grope for your cheaters to analyze all the gauges and lights.

No slot for that 8-track tape in sight.


My Yukon had been with us for over a decade. It protected the kids in a significant crash, took us across many state lines, endured car seats, booster seats and a host of unidentifiable food spills. And kept on ticking. It was the Timex of SUV’s; reliable and indestructible.

With nearly 170,000 miles, the old girl must surely feel at least as old as I do. That truck is family, which is why it killed me to put it out to pasture. Or in this case, abandon it in the dealer parking lot to be sold for parts.

Double sigh.

And now I am the proud owner of a 2016 Yukon. Which would be awesome if only I knew how to actually work even half of the buttons and lights.  I have informed my children that we will no longer be talking in the car because I am incapable of doing anything but driving.

Spoiler Alert: They weren’t nearly as upset about this new mandate as I thought they would be. No one even looked up from there iPhone.

I explained there would be no looking at scenery, no referee duties when fights erupt and no throwing food over the back seat. I had been reduced to a one trick pony.

My salesman, Jerry, who looked 17 but turned out to be an equally depressing 34 years old, really wanted to be my friend.  Well, besties until I finished the customer survey at the very least. But Jerry just didn’t get it. I don’t need more friends, I need a car that isn’t smarter than I am; mocking me with its new-fangled ways. Put that in your survey Jerr-man.

Things like the back-up camera, the blind spot detectors, sensors for distance from the car in front of me as well as warnings when objects encroach from the side. There are no bells or alarms, though.

You know what happens any time the car detects danger?

My seat Tasers me.

That’s right. The driver’s seat vibrates in lieu of dinging noises. It happens constantly (especially when your garage was constructed to house the average Volkswagen not an oversized SUV) and it’s not good.

I’ll admit, it sounds good in theory. Kind of the way a water bed should lull you to sleep but in reality feels like you are sleeping in a vat of Jell-O.  Bad like that.

There are 13 places one can charge a phone or device, outlets for video games, a hot spot and air conditioning in my seats. But it took me two days to figure out how to unlock the doors.

So, I am officially waving the white flag. I am over matched. My best bet is to hand the manual to my kids and let them have at it. The next generation is my only hope of driving the car of today.

So, if you see me drive by and I don’t wave, take no offense, really.  Taming this Yukon is taking all of my faculties and I am going old school.

Eyes on the road, hands at 10 and 2 and that fancy satellite radio cranking the 80’s tunes. I might not master the car, but it just might make me feel young again.



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Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.


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