Saturday, October 1, 2011

I am a Greedy Capitalist

I drive a nice car.  A nice enough car that I was very conflicted about it for the first year I owned it.  Bear with me as I roll through my standard justification on why I have this car.

I drive a lot.
It's safe.
It's very pretty.
It's fun to drive.
I bought it used and it had depreciated over 50% from the original sticker price-so I did not pay nearly what I assume you think I paid for it.

At this point, I will stop being coy about the car.  It is a Lexus GS450h.  That's a hybrid.  It is a nice fucking car.  And while I hate for people to think that I think I am all that for owning a nice car (in case you haven't figured it out, I don't), I absolutely adore that car.  The little kid in me claps her hands in glee (SPARKLES and BUTTONS TO PUSH), while the codependent me worries about sending the right message to the masses on the road.  I try to find a middle ground: a place where what other people think of me is none of my business and I do not need to justify my car choice to anyone.

But it is hard.  Because the crux of the matter is that I don't want anyone to think I am the kind of person who would spend over $60,000 on a car.  That is not me, I think that is excessive, and I wouldn't do it.  No judgement on those who do, it's just not right for me.  I've had the car a little over a year and I've pretty much come to terms with it.

So today, I went to a meeting, and went to breakfast afterward with a dear friend.  While I was inside the restaurant, someone came along and put this on my back bumper: I AM A GREEDY CAPITALIST.  It was about 8 inches wide by 6 inches tall.  White background with black stencil letters.  You couldn't miss it.

I was so embarrassed, I didn't even pause to see if it was painted on or a sticker.  I actually thought it was painted on for most of the day.  I got in my car and drove off.  All those alcoholic feelings that everyone is talking about/staring at/thinking the worst of me were back in a flash.  The words Greedy Capitalist flashed in my mind so hard, I wouldn't have been surprised if they were stretching through the skin of my forehead.

Pride.  I had too much pride to stop and try to remove it.  Shit, I had too much pride to stop and acknowledge it as I approached the car.  What if the person who put it there was watching?  I wouldn't give them the satisfaction.  What would people think of me trying to remove the accusatory words from my car?  Trying to wash them off and out like a feminist Hamlet.  

It was a beautiful Fall day, the rest of the family was camping, and I had PLANS that included a lot of errand running.  I tried, I really did.  I knew all my buttons and fears about that car were pressed.  I haven't felt such an absolute mess of emotions at once in a long time: fear, anger, insecurity, shame, self-doubt, injustice, misunderstood, and stupid.  I work for a large corporation.   I make a good salary.  What if the accusatory words were really true?  What if that is what really bothered me?

Even bemused.  At first, I tried to rationalize that people would think I was being ironic.  But I have to give the authors credit: there is nothing ironic about that word choice.  There is nothing there to put your tongue in your cheek over.  But I refused to have my day ruined--I still ran one errand and went to a movie.

This is fairly ironic though.  Topic of the meeting this morning?  The 10th Step: personal inventory and the reason we do one on a daily basis: self-righteous anger.

I meant to take a photo of the offending words and post them here.  However, when I went to do so, I realized it was just a sticker and pulled it off.  There's probably the worst part: I could have removed it all along.


Joker the Lurcher said...

i too love nice cars. i have had a period of driving an old and small car of a make that is not very flash and i have been amazed at how much i got bullied by other drivers, tailgating me, being impatient etc. i now have a modest but slightly less downtrodden van and the difference is palpable.

the person who put the sticker on your car was not doing a very good job of keeping their own side of the street clean, were they! i hope now you have a bit of distance from this you can see the funny side of it. these things are sent to teach us something!

tearlessnights said...

Such a good post. Funny & insightful! Thanks for sharing!