Have you ever seen a car that just looks like it’s driven by someone you’d really like to know? For me it’s usually the collection of bumper stickers that’s so large they extend well above and beyond the bumper that makes me say, “Hey, I’m into all of those things too!” And I’m tempted to follow that car even if it veers off in the opposite direction of where I’m going.
Once when I was driving home but not in any real hurry a group of antique cars pulled up around me at a red light. Then they turned left while I was going straight ahead. I still regret not following them. I’m not really a car guy, but I think old automobiles are really cool. Once in a museum I saw a limousine that I think was from around the 1920’s. An old woman came up to me and said, “This is the car I dreamt of as a little girl.” I said, “This is the car I dream of now.” In retrospect she may have thought I was making fun of her; really I was making a connection.
Yes, I know they were gas-guzzling deathtraps and even if one could be retro-fitted with a hybrid engine and seat belts and airbags the insurance alone would drive me to bankruptcy and it would be unsellable. It’s like the statue of Hatshepsut kneeling at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It would be completely impractical to own but a guy can dream, can’t he?
And sometimes I dream of following a cool car, but then I dream of how it will turn out. Instead of going to a pizza place or bookstore they’ll be headed home, and I’ll end up parked in front of it. If I can overcome the intense shyness that sometimes overwhelms me I’ll probably sputter out something like, “Hi, nice car. Yeah, I was just driving around. Thought I’d park here. That’s a nice house. Oh, it’s yours? Hey, you’re a Doctor Who fan too, eh? Cool. It looks like you’re trying to get your mail and go inside. Mind if I come with you? Well, this is awkward.”
What I really want to do is send them a message that says, “I really dig your flivver, and it seems to me like we might be simpatico. At a convenient time would you like to meet at a coffee place and have a couple of pantoccinos, or maybe somewhere else for something a little stronger made with my old friend Hopson Malt?”
Yes I know it would come across as pushy and possibly even disturbing, but maybe, just maybe, that would work. Hey, a guy can dream, right?
Things were so much simpler when were children. You can find something in common (You like green? I like green too!) and be like, “I like you. Will you be my friend?” Why is this considered odd as adults? When I started working at my current company, there was a woman from Finance who would send a daily fax from the copy room nearest my office. We would make small talk and I always felt like she would be someone I could be friends with. However, I was too shy and awkward to make real overtures of friendship. “Hi– I’ve been watching you daily for months and I like you. Will you be my friend?” That doesn’t sound stalker-ish, does it? Thankfully she and I were both friends with a woman named Sandy and she was able to bring us together. My friend Marge is one of my dearest friends to this day.
It’s weird, isn’t it? I think as children we’re frequently thrown together with a bunch of strangers our age and if we don’t get along there will be blood. As adults we have more control over how we spend our time and whom we spend it with, but that may mean fewer opportunities to make new friends.
Fortunately it does sometimes happen at work. I’m so glad you and Marge are close friends.
Years ago I had my first day in a new job and brought a book by a French author to read during lunch. A guy named Chip who worked there picked it up and said, “I’m French! Why else do you think I have this outrageous accent?” And just like that we were friends.
By the way I have no clue who drives the car in the picture at the top, but if I ever see it again I’m going to put a note under their windshield wiper. I hope that won’t come across as weird and stalkerish, but I kind of feel like they’re asking for it.
I was behind a little orange and white Smart car in traffic once. They had a personalized plate that read CRMSCL and it made my entire day.
That’s brilliant and also had me scratching my head. In that case I’d probably follow the car until I figured out what the license plate stood for.