Been waiting to see this article appear on Esquire.com since it showed up in my July issue. I loved it, Karin loved, I wanted to share it.
In “The Conversion of an Apathetic Driver”, Benjamin Alsup does a brilliant, funny job describing the awakening of a desire he did not even know he had.
The subtitle, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Audi A6” says it all.
When I talk to people about their desires, it never fails to surprise me just how difficult it is for people to dream. Somehow, instead of natural, fun, and yes, pragmatic (thoughts become things, remember?) place to put your awareness, dreaming became folly – an impractical waste of time – as in “it’s never going to happen anyway, so why fool myself?” Or dreaming became dangerous, in conflict with what the “good” people do (which is suffer and take their medicine, dammit).
I’d ask an old friend about his dreams. He would skirt the question, saying he had all he wanted. In fact, he had strong beliefs that wanting more, especially in a material sense, was wrong. I think he used the word “evil” a few times.
He drove a piece-of-shit Geo and in one breath would argue the merits of his cheap, no-frills ride, while in the next, complaining about the cost of the constant stream of repair bills it generated. Wouldn’t he prefer a nicer car – a more comfortable, reliable mode of transportation, I’d ask?
Oh, no. For him, there was a nobility in the suffering. He might have to hitch a ride every once in a while, but at least he wasn’t one of those a-holes in a fancy car that actually works well.
Certainly, cars may not have been his thing (but then again, how would he know as his beliefs about nice cars/money/people-who-drive-nice-cars/ never allowed him to even explore this territory?). But this was never really about cars, anyway. It was about the conditioning that teaches us to suppress our desires.
We are built to expand, to want more, to grow, to experience, to evolve. This does not mean that we need to gather more stuff, to find our identities in the labels (or lack thereof) on our clothing. It just means that it’s cooler to be open to what feels good rather than clinging to your ideas (or ideals) of what’s supposed to be good.
You might surprise yourself.
Who knows, maybe you’d drive an S6…
And here’s another link to Mr. Alsup’s great piece of writing… Check it out!