Once Upon a Time at a Car Show

Once upon a time, I went to a car show and it changed my life.

I was a newspaper reporter at the time, working for a hometown paper that came out twice a week. It was a pretty good hometown paper. I even won an award for a story I wrote there. ‘Nother time.

We took turns, the other fulltime reporter and I, covering weekend events. I got the car show. Father’s Day weekend, as I recall.

I like Corvettes, myself. Mustangs. El Caminos – I had one of those once.

I walked up and down the rows of cars, snapping pictures (we were our own photographers at this paper), talking to people for my news story. You know.

I went past a few cars parked together, and a group of 20-somethings sitting in camp chairs. The three or four girls in the group were similar to what most girls (or maybe just me) want to look like – slender and toned, great hair, great legs. They and the guys of the group were sitting, looking around. Looking bored.

I noted them and moved on, just about ready to wrap it up and file my story. I heard music coming from across the park – 1950s music. Thought I’d check it out on my way out.

It was a bit of a party. The first thing I noticed was a woman, a bit older than me at that time, probably mid-40s, about my build, which is to say, could lose a pound or 20. She was wearing tight pants and a halter top and had her hair piled up on her head rockabilly-style. She was on the rumble seat of a car dancing to Chuck Berry. She was having a great time. Some people were watching her, some were dancing by their cars, some were drinking beers and chatting. Like I said, a bit of a party.

I was jealous. What confidence! Call her an attention-seeker if you want to, but you weren’t there. She was living in the moment. She was “let’s have fun, right now, let’s do this, fuck you if you judgy.”

Before I left, I noticed the 20-something guys hanging out near that car with that slightly-overweight “oh hon should you really wear that?” dancing redhead. Their cute little, asses-in-chairs girlfriends nowhere to be seen.

I decided right then I’d rather be the less-than-perfect-but-enjoying-life woman than the super-cute-and-super-uptight girls.

Yeah, I know, judgy. Unfair. Making a determination based on very little evidence.

C’mon, you wanna be her, too.

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