The car looked cool. Sleek. Powerful. I barely could wait my turn to take a ride in buddy Tim's 1963 Chevy Impala SS.
The Kid just had to ruin it: ''Wow,'' Paul said. ''I've never ridden in a car older than I am.''
I remember 1963. Tim already was a teenager when this Impala first hit the highway. But Paul is a mere lad in his mid-40s.
''Yeah,'' I muttered through my solid white beard. ''Our dads used to park their Impalas next to the chariots. Then they'd go inside our caves to read newspapers chiseled on stone.''
We let The Kid ride up front. My wife, Terry, and I slid into the back seat. Room remained inside the huge mass of steel and seat cushions.
"It's not a car," Terry said. ''It's a land yacht.''
The high beams dimmed without Tim moving his hands. ''Floorboard dimmer switch. Remember those?''
Of course. And when power steering meant you had forearms like Popeye.
The Kid ran his hand along the expanse of dashboard, pausing at the AM radio. ''They had radios in cars back then?''
''No. We stashed a little kid in the glove box and made him sing.'' I wiped my professor's bifocals. ''Yes, we had radios. You twist that knob. That's where we get the phrase 'turn on the radio.'''
''You turn those handles on the door to lower the windows,'' Terry said. ''That's why it's called 'rolling down the windows.'''
It was about time for my nap, so I settled back and thought about other arcane expressions. The last time I told a youngster to wait by the phone for my call, he said, ''Well, duh. It's in my pocket.''
Telephones used to be big, heavy blocks that didn't leave the wall or table. To make a call - you know, ''pick up the phone and dial now'' - you poked a finger into a hole on a disc, spun to the left, let go, and the dial clickety-click-clicked back home. You kept at it until you dialed the full number.
Of course, if you wanted to talk to your neighbor, she might already be eavesdropping on the party line.
I snorted. Which reminded me of when I called my daughter and asked, ''Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?''
She didn't get it.
''You know, the Lily Tomlin phone sketches on 'Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.'''
''Who?" she said. "What's 'Laugh-In'?''
''A color TV show from the 1960s.''
I could hear her eyes rolling over the phone line. I mean,the cellular network. ''Like 20 years before I was born? And why wouldn't a TV show be in color?''
I thumped my head against the wall. ''Because my world used to be in black and white. Like film.''
The Kid woke me up with more nonsense. ''This car's so long, you probably need a GPS to find the trunk.''
''We didn't have GPS back then. We asked the service station guy who washed our windshield. Life was a lot more exciting when we could get lost in big, beautiful cars with windows rolled down and the AM radio blasting.''
The Kid sighed. ''Sometimes I wish I'd lived in ancient times like you. It sounds so wonderful.''
''That's what I've been trying to tell you, Kid. Sorry to sound like a broken record.''
We let The Kid walk home.
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