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Porsche, baby and my midlife crisis

nicad 11/05/2022 157

My fourth child was not born like the other three children. There are no scary nurses or catheters, no bright lights or IV tubes to drip painkillers in, so my wife stops screaming. Porsche, bébé et ma crise de la quarantaine

Instead, my fourth arrived late one cold night in March 2013, on the back of a flatbed truck from Milwaukee.

This baby was my new headache and heartache – my shapely redhead.

It was my 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera.

I bought it sight unseen but was finally satisfying a lifelong desire to drive a hot car.

And yes, it was a midlife crisis.

After the arrival of my third child, I had reached that moment of uncertainty and inertia in life that only professional anxieties and mortgages can cause.

A sports car, even a used one, gives guys like me a faint glimmer of success; the feeling that the suburbs may not be our only destiny.

It might be a spray on bronzed glow, but it still looks good from five feet away.

I always imagined driving a Porsche would lead to instant rock star treatment. At each red light, I faced speechless motorists. The little boys on the sidewalk would cry with jealousy. Women were throwing themselves on the hood (take it easy ladies, don't scratch the paint) and there might even be a theme song playing.

On my first ride, I held my breath, waiting for heads to turn and women to swoon. Porsche, bébé et ma crise de la quarantaine

I waited.

And I waited.

There had been a few glances, a few knowing smiles, but above all I regained anonymity.

I'm still waiting for this hot blonde to get started on my hood.

The attention I enjoyed is usually unwanted. There was a drunk guy in the parking lot of the grocery store ogling and offering to swap cars (no thanks) and I found out that driving around in a Porsche suddenly made that deal a whole lot harder.

Mine is 12 years old and cheaper than the new Hyundai I parked next to, but tell your boss or co-workers who are now chatting about your ride.

Of course, that's why we all want the exotic car with more exhaust pipes than doors aren't for attention, but for shear performance: tires smoke, tires burn at lights traffic, high-speed turns on twisty mountain roads and more!

And then I put my four-year-old son in his car seat, in the back, and reality set in.

While I've indulged in my share of high-rpm blasts, I generally find that I'm playing it safe. When rear tires cost $400 apiece and a blown clutch could be the difference between sending my kids to community college over Harvard, the urge to put the car in line after every traffic light is suddenly less compelling.

Maybe it's just the ultimate midlife crisis irony, that by the time you get the fast car, you're too cautious and mature to mess around with it. Porsche, bébé et ma crise de la quarantaine

Or maybe I'm just smarter?

I'd like to think of the latter, but with AARP membership closer in years than my college degree, I suspect I've just become that dreaded species: a middle-aged adult.

Succumbing to my midlife crisis and buying a red Porsche 911 didn't change my life. I'm not richer (quite the opposite) and I don't fight the paparazzi with my new supermodel girlfriend.

Life with a Porsche is just life.

But I've found that dealing with a midlife crisis with a sports car is really the pure satisfaction of having one. I never open the garage door to look at our SUV like I did with the Porsche. Even if I don't do the rear burnout, at least I know I could, and it would look a lot cooler in a Porsche than a Honda.

My Porsche 911 hasn't cured all of this pain, but for a few minutes during the day I can get in my car and know I've checked something off the to-do list.

I drive what most people only dream of. I did something that I always wanted to do.

And that is, after all, the best part of my fourth baby.

*Jonathan Orr is a writer, car enthusiast, public relations expert, Afghan veteran and proud father. He thinks his beloved Porsche 911 is a member of the family. Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanjorr


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