The differences in lifestyles across sub-sets of our culture sometimes leave me stupefied. Last December, while sitting at a gas mart in Thornton, a cookie-cutter suburb of Denver, waiting to meet Scotty D for a brief climbing road trip, I stared, mouth agape, at the six-deep line of cars and SUVs waiting to enter the automatic car wash.
I’ve never once washed my car. Even if I cared, the rain does it for free. I can’t anymore imagine washing my car than I can imagine being one of those tea-party douchebags (call me un-‘Merican, but I believe that caring for our fellow human – even the less-fortunate, pathetic and slovenly as they are – should take priority over corporate profits). On my list of things I care about enough to spend even ten minutes of time, washing my car couldn’t be farther below the bottom of the list. I just don’t get it. Not that it matters if I get it, but this is my blog so I’m allowed to rant about random topics.
Climbing makes no sense, either. As least until you consider that challenging yourself on levels physical, psychological, and emotional — regardless of the vehicle (pardon the pun) – gives us depth and helps us grow in ways that most of us, myself certainly included, cannot adequately articulate. Simply put, though, it’s probably passion. Certainly passion can be used for evil, but well directed passion helps drive us (that pun thing again…am I on to something here? Are cars (well washed, of course) the solutions to the world’s problems? Uh, no).
Why do so many people seem to wrap their identities in the hunk of metal that gets them from point A to point B? Does that count as a “passion”? It’s like the people who “love to shop” – seriously? Yuk. What a turn-off. There I go again, being un-‘Merican by bashing on unabashed materialism. But really, just buying tons of unnecessary crap that you don’t use for anything, for the sole sake of buying tons of unnecessary crap that you don’t use for anything? A passion? Really? I’ve already ranted on this, so I’ll spare you. I know, I’m a judgmental hypocrite like the rest of us. In contrast, I’ll concede that hand washing your car, like the auto buffs do with their collector’s editions (even if I don’t “get” the car thing), seems different. Just sitting in line to hit the auto-scrub seems purely superficial.
Who am I kidding? I sound like an ass-hole. We all do all kinds of pointless things just to get by, things that somehow give us a shred of daily self-worth in a lost world, as silly as those things seem to others. Climbing, for example. And I have my favorite margarita glass and my favorite coffee mug. I don’t know why, I just like them. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I think about what I’m going to wear if I’m going out in public – even to the grocery store. Mock copy block time:
No Expectations Sweatpants. Dream low and plan to fail—nothing says “ambition” like a good pair of sweatpants and at age 37, still living in your parents’ basement, sleeping till noon and playing Doom all day, you need something as soft as you are. You’ll never get up the route anyway, so slide into these power-lounging sweats, expect the worst and you’ll get to be right or pleasantly surprised. Made from unwashed recycled pajamas.
In my trying-to-be-less-judgmental-but-not-quite-there-yet mind, I still shake my head at the inanity of giving a rat’s ass about having some dirt on your car. Let your car get too dirty, though, and you could end up with a rig like the Chief’s. And maybe those people simply like their cars without dirt. Just like I like my favorite marg glass. Just like I’m still not wearing sweatpants to the grocery story.