Like a snapshot, my reflection catches me in a moment of my life. There was a time when I looked forward to a surprise reflection of myself. These days it merely shocks me to see how much I've aged since the last reflection. I shake it off and tell myself to stand up straight. It's hard to find a flattering reflection these days.
My reflection makes me feel like a ghost. I split off into several entities—the "I" that looks at the strange little apparition that is "me." Is that old guy really me? Before I saw him I felt like a kid. That's where the shock comes in.
Lately I've been looking at my reflection in the waxed finish of old cars. This particular style of reflection seems more fleeting, more amorphous, more me. There's a timeless quality to a reflection in an old car. The patina matches my own wear and tear. The entire effect is bigger, maybe better, than life.
These days I walk the neighborhood, looking for old, clean cars that have a good polish to them. The rust is mostly localized and contained. They have the best, most ghostly reflections in them. The old cars, like old me, have habits. I find them in predictable places. I check out the car, it reflects back me. I'm always glad that it's still running, still making its way to this particular spot in the neighborhood. I smile, make a picture and walk on to the next moment of my life.