While walking home from dropping off my kids at school, something crept up on me that I haven’t seen in over 20 years. Moving about as slow as a three-toed tree sloth with a gentle purr that cloaked the V-8 power beneath the powder blue paneled exterior appeared a mint condition 1978 Chevy Suburban. This behemoth was the grandfather of all modern SUVs, and like most grandfathers from back in the day, the Suburban could kick the crap out of any of his cheeky grandsons. With three full sized bench seats, the Suburban could comfortably SLEEP three intoxicated adults. Just the sight of this classic beach car flooded me with memories of Mexican beaches, tan bodies, and early morning surf sessions. But enough of this mid-life crisis penis envy about a muscle truck. What really mattered sat inside the Suburban.
Perched on the front seat of this polished piece of American history was a cute white-haired couple who looked like their first car was a covered wagon. But get this, the septuagenarian wife sat right next to the husband on the bench seat leaving the passenger side seat empty. Although they were driving slower than I was walking, I guarantee you that when they were coming to a stop the husband put his arm across his wife like our mothers used to do when we sat in the front seat before seat belt laws.
Just then it occurred to me that this is the model of true happiness. I live in the Silicon Valley just down the road from Apple headquarters, so most of the cars rushing to make a right turn without stopping that cut me off in the cross walk are BMW M series or Lexus RX hybrids. I have been brainwashed to believe that happiness lies in the German engineering of the ultimate driving machine. I have dreamed about acquiring a Lexus hybrid sedan, a Tesla Roadster, and a mansion with a 3 car garage to house my trophies.
It occurred to me watching this beautifully content couple creep across the intersection that maybe my ideas of happiness were completely off target. Maybe happiness doesn’t lie in heated Italian leather seats with lumbar support. Maybe true happiness lies in having the love of your life ride shotgun with you in the same car you had your first date in. Perhaps instead of pursuing money to buy shiny metal objects, we should work on our relationships. We should pimp our marriages rather than our rides–wait, that didn’t come out as clever as it sounded in my head.
Unfortunately, on the next block I saw a beautiful black Porsche Panamera with custom chrome 20′ wheels. By the time I got home, I decided to have the best of both worlds–my wife can sit shotgun in my bright yellow Tesla roadster and I’ll put my arm across her when I stop short after rocketing from zero to sixty in 3.7 seconds.
Seriously though, why is it that we are never content with what we already have? Is there a balance that can be struck living in this fast-paced world of conspicuous consumerism? Can we be self-realized Mercedes owners? Please share.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and smiling.