Most of what I write about is seeking a simpler life, as that is where my heart is. I have worked on identifying what drives my desires and wants, how culture and advertising ‘sell’ me on things that I don’t really need, tried to eliminate faddish or gimmicky things, reduced the amount of ‘stuff’ I own and downsized in many ways – some voluntarily and others not-so-voluntarily. It will be an ongoing thing I suspect. In direct contrast, yesterday I attended a high-end car/boat/motorcycle event with my oldest daughter as speed and cars are an interest she’s long held and it was something she wanted to do for her halvies birthday; she is this year exactly half as old as I am. So while it isn’t my ‘thing’, having my daughter ask me to share something like that with her is my ‘thing’.
It is already quite warm down here in the tropical South and the sun beats down unrelentingly. This event was held by the water though, so it was quite breezy and the planners set the show among trees and shaded places and had many tented pavilions for participants to duck into and get a break from the sun. On one side of the show they had nice jazz playing around the classic cars and the Audi, BMW, Bugatti, , Corvette, Mercedes, Porsche and Tesla displays. This is also the area for the VIP crowd and the several bars serving at the event. In addition to the spectacular vehicles there was an amazing amount of attractive people there and at times I wondered if we had stumbled into a modeling set. Tall, slender, athletic men sporting tans, distinguished grey hair and watches that cost more than my car, and women thin, tan and fit walking around in stilettos, or rhinestone cuffed slouch boots attired in the latest fashions. It has been years since I spent time around this social strata, and what always impresses me are those that have grace with their success. The successful people without pretension are always those that I find pleasant and genuine, and usually quite likable; they simply have different life experiences than many. So the people were almost as interesting to check out as the vehicles. Of course, there were plenty of regular folks like us too, plus young families, college boys and quite the array of languages and ethnic groups for a nice, varied crowd. I liked it, but would have preferred a smaller crowd as it was a little hectic and a lot of bumping into others and ‘excuse me’s’ abounded.
While I am not a car buff or even very knowledgeable about them, I can and did appreciate the aesthetics, interiors and beauty of many vehicles I’ve never seen before. My favorites from the classic cars were the Shelby, the Bugatti, the Imperial Chrysler, the MG T-type and the 1930’s Auburn Supercharged Speedster shown below, along with two restored military motorcycles from 1946 and 1973. I’d never seen a motorcycle that had a gun rack before 🙂 It is difficult to take photos at a car show without getting people in them, so apologies for that. Many cars were also so close to other cars that getting enough distance to capture the entire car was often difficult for a short chick like me, lol!
Tesla had a couple of their cars on display, and I now have a Tesla key ring. I wonder if I should put the property gate key on it for a little ironic juxtaposition, hmm? 🙂 There were Infinity G35 body kits that totally transformed the car enough to fool my car savvy daughter, and several Gull-wing vehicles. Snazzy, but I’d probably hit my head getting out of the car, knowing me! My daughter’s favorite car was the luxurious and muscular Porsche Panamera Turbo (Hey, don’t look at me, she gets this stuff from her Dad!) The interior appointments in navy blue leather, were incredibly beautiful. Starting at base of 78K, it was purty but surely not ever for me, probably not even if I won the lottery. I’d rather have a good 4 WD truck, a sturdy ATV and a run-about Jeep, all three of which I could probably buy used and good quality for the base price of that one car (which costs more than the last house and property I bought). But I hadn’t really experience sticker shock yet, that was coming next.
We ambled over to the other side of the show, where fast-paced music was pumping out of vehicle sized speakers, and stumbled into the world of Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Land Rover, Lamborghini, Lotus and Rolls Royce. Now, I will admit that one car in that line up caught my eye, because I had been passed by one on the bridge one evening last year going home in silver paint with such depth that it wowed me and it was beautiful even to my car novice eyes. That is the Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition, although the one I prefer is the 2013 body style. They are so rare that when I excitedly called my daughter to describe it, she couldn’t place it. It really isn’t a vehicle, it is a rolling work of art. But at a 2014 sticker price of 314K I’ll forever be content to just look at one at a car show, appreciate the exquisite paint job (approximately 68 hours to apply, panel by panel), incredible engine sound for a V6, and plush interior comfort (even if I win the lottery!) The rest of the high end cars didn’t really do a whole lot for me, other than provide a luxurious viewing experience. The attention to interior details really struck me, and the beauty of the work, even under the hood. However, every time one was started up, that teenage girl in me that loved the sound of a muscle car engine still smiled. Having owned an LT-1 engine Corvette in my previous life, I know what that feels like from inside of the car even though I cannot explain what it does. That’s the one vehicle I ever found myself driving at over 100 miles an hour without even knowing it, which scared the bejeesus out of me. I do love to drive, and driving in a well appointed comfortable vehicle is a pleasure. But I enjoyed my lower priced Saturn Vue AWD probably just as much as I’d enjoy one of those vehicles, and I wasn’t scared to get it dirty, throw hay in the back, have the kids in it, or grand kids. I do miss that vehicle a lot, particularly when I am in Tennessee. Remote start and heated leather seats made winter travel rather nice.
Those days though, are far behind me. I don’t want to go into debt for a vehicle again. After all, they are simply a means of getting from here to there. If they are functional, do the work you need done and perform reliably, then that is what they should do. My car, my home, my clothes – they are not who I am. And in the end, no one who really values someone as a person cares what they drive, where they live, or what they wear. Perhaps we all go through that eventually, some sooner than others. Some by forced necessity, others by choice. Do I begrudge others who act differently? No. We each have a space within us that defines us to the outside world. It might be labeled as acceptance of limitations I guess. It doesn’t feel like that to me though. I’ve thought about what I would do if I became wealthy overnight by some event. The one thing that I know that I would buy is land. That is the only thing that I really want to replace from all of the things that I have owned, is land of my own. Would I buy a bunch of it? I don’t really know. What I want to do doesn’t actually take much land, although I like the buffer from other people. My last home was only six acres, but I could accomplish most, if not all, of what I desire to do on that small piece. I had huge buffers because I was surrounded by farmland, no houses. I had the peace and quiet of the natural world that I crave, and enough room to grow a big garden, have a few goats and chickens, and not bump into a neighbor. I think that I would have eventually gotten to all of those goals, had events not really forced my hand. And that’s why in the future, if and when I buy land again, I don’t want to have a mortgage either. I want to pay cash. Then all I have to worry about during a job loss, or an illness, is paying my taxes. In TN, you can practically pick up cans on the side of the road for a year and pay your property taxes, even on relatively large acreage. With no mortgage, you alone decide on the risk requirement of homeowner’s insurance or not. If you have to do without electricity due to a huge income reduction, you can still live if you have a manual pump on a well or a bucket draw system. Probably have to give up the internet though, lol! My thoughts run to what could I survive on if everything that I depend on to live were reduced to necessity only. I want to know that my next home place that is mine, is free from those things hanging over my head, so that even at basic survival level I could not only survive, but possibly flourish. I haven’t found a way yet to impart this method of living to my kids, as they’ve not seen me do it yet. I only hope that I am able to provide them an example for the future.
But enough about that…how about the award for “Gaudiest Paint Job at Show”? This one took the cake, but I bet it wouldn’t be easily stolen, lol! I think of it as the TRON car.
We ended up walking the boulevard back to the car and decided on a trattoria serving great food out in the open, Bella Brava. I treated my daughter to a freshly prepared good quality Italian meal, had a very fine glass of Kings Estate Pinot Noir, introduced her to some new foods and enjoyed the people passing by and light conversation. With an in-house chef from the Tuscany area of Italy, the food was fresh, very flavorful and served piping hot. The wait staff was pleasant, if a little bit inattentive to detail, but any issues were quickly remedied. It was a pleasant ending to a good day, even though both of us are a little sunburned, she more than I. Above the restaurant was an darling little apartment or office, with a patio overlooking the boulevard. I do enjoy good food and wine from time to time, and probably always will, particularly if shared with the company of another.
All in all the day provided an opportunity to think on the way I am crafting my life and how it is often in opposition to what drives the world. I almost always feel out of pace with others, a bit on the sidebar of the page or perhaps way back in another section of the book. I am encouraged though by young co-workers with families that are looking to buy land, who are starting to garden, who are not buying brand new vehicles every year or are paying cash for vehicles and who live a more modest and somewhat sufficient lifestyle. Someone is going to have to keep it going after we are gone 🙂
As I took my nightly walk and felt the still cool sea breeze, sorted through the scents of early spring – jasmine, angel’s trumpet, tea olive as they floated to me on the breeze, and looked up at the puffy night clouds that looked liked the seaside edge where wavelets frolic, I realized that each day may present us with gifts, sometimes many of them. They are there if we open our senses and close our cluttered up minds and just wait, or maybe we have to reach out to get them at times. But most days I suspect they are there, and those that we pass by in our busyness, or while we yak on the phone, or when our minds are a million miles away at work or on home issues, they’ll come ’round again. Not those exact ones probably, but differing ones. Unwrap them mindfully and enjoy.
The rest of the week I probably have to spend on preparing taxes, so I’ll look forward to a break from that to make another post during the week, at least that is my hope.
Have a marvelous Monday, and always be open to different activities, even if they don’t reflect the values you embrace.