Sunday, August 13, 2006

Trivial Things

Twice during the last week, Pretty Lady has been approached in a parking lot by a gentleman who wishes to remove the dents from the body of her car. "I'll give ya a good price," they promise. When Pretty Lady declines their offer, they then offer to buy her car.

These gentlemen must think Pretty Lady is a fool.

The primary virtue of Pretty Lady's car is that it moves from one place to another, carrying large loads of stuff, when you put gas in it and press the accelerator. This was the reason she purchased the car, third-hand, after a great deal of research and study. Aesthetics carried no weight with her at all, except as an exciting bonus. "The leather is a little ripped on the driver's seat," the previous owner confessed.

"It has LEATHER SEATS? What an astonishing luxury!" Pretty Lady replied. It has a CD player, too. Blessings abound.

The fact that Pretty Lady's car moves from one place to another, however, is the important thing about it. This factor constitutes 99.99% of its value, in Pretty Lady's mind. The gulf between having a means to move large heavy objects long distances, quickly, at a moment's notice, and not having this means, is vast. We are talking an order of magnitude, here.

In contrast, the difference between owning a functional automobile with no dent in the rear, and owning one with a dent in the rear, is vanishingly small. Occasionally, Pretty Lady notices the dent, vaguely, in passing. She wonders when and how it might have happened; it certainly did not occur when she was driving the car, or she would have a story to tell. But this is New York. The dent appeared, and that was that.

In fact, she suspects a certain class of New York gentleman of the practice of causing such dents, late at night, with the view of accosting foolish ladies in gas stations during daylight, and making an easy buck.

But this is all by the way. These are the moments, Pretty Lady confesses, when she fetches up against the awareness of just how skewed the human psyche can become. It astonishes her that so few people have a clear understanding of functional priorities. They continually waste energy (money being nothing but energy to burn) on trivial considerations which do not affect the fundamentals of existence one jot.

However, Pretty Lady must confess, that after vacuuming her car in preparation for her upcoming vacation, she contemplated the driver's seat with new eyes. She noted that the seat was, indeed, shredded. Upon entering the auto supply shop to purchase a new right-signal lightbulb, she noticed that aut0 supply shops sell such things as 'racing seat covers.' Intoxicated by vacation anticipation, she actually bought one.

So, in fact, the theme of this essay falls to the ground. Long live the trivial, or at the very least, the frivolous.

(With apologies to Cynthia Heimel.)


Anonymous said...

Heh. I like your philosophy on cars. Personally, I'll drive anything that will get my lazy Kansan ass from Point A to Point B, and if it has air conditioning--BONUS!! We currently have a 1981 Honda hatchback which my husband uses for commuting, and a 90-something Volvo. Now, the Volvo may seem like an extravagance, but I have to cart my genetic immortality around with me, and the hell if some asshat in a Ford Explorer is going to mow us down.
On the other hand, I have a cousin who refused to go off her birth control before her husband bought her a a brand-new SUV. While I'll concede that women have used their reproductive leverage for more frivilous rewards, I can't think of a particular instance right this minute.

Pretty Lady said...

We have so much in common! I owned a 1981 Honda Accord for nearly a decade--unfortunately I was a little rough on her in the early days, with the result that by 1998 she was creating her own weather, and I reluctantly had to let her go.

My current car is, confessedly, an SUV. I felt that I deserved one because I genuinely do fill it to the brim with things like table saws and massage tables and take it off-roading in Mexico. At current reading it has over 203,000 miles on the odometer.

Anonymous said...

Yes!! This is what SUVs are for!! What I find hilarious about the things are the soccer-mom types who claim they *have* to have them for carpooling and the like, when most of them don't actually seat more people than the average sedan.