Funny how when you first buy a car it seems as if up to that point you’ve rarely seen anything like it on the road only to have that perception change a week or two into ownership where it seems everyone had the same idea as you. Or the horror of showing at some social function to find another similarly wardrobed.
It’s especially disconcerting in cars and clothes because we buy these to set us apart from the others, a sense of style, individuality.
More so unnerving, I’ve found, is the realization that you, your personage, your self are not all that different than others despite what they’re wearing or driving.
What I thought had set me apart from the other guys, be it character, or talent, some level of integrity or intelligence, or lack of, becomes noticed in cookie-cutter ubiquity once personal inherent flaws, mistakes in judgement, or a leave of common sense reveal that I’m really no different than other men of a certain age.
Realizing I have just as much dickhead potential as the next guy is much more bothersome than showing up in the same car or the same suit. Suddenly I’m seeing myself in episodic dramas and movies about men in relationships and it makes me squirm.
Not long ago I was getting into my Boxster and parked next to it was a minivan with a family still inside. I got in it, started the car and put the top down in it’s little technological show of engineering. “That’s so sick,” said the goth teenage girl who watched along side her dad.
Her dad said to me, “So, is that your midlife crisis?”
I tried not to be indignant.
“Do I look like I’m having a crisis?” and I pulled out and away.
Not me. I’m different. What I feel is different. Who I am, what I believe, what I value is different and that qualifies me to promote Dos Equis, not suffer some crisis of identity or happiness. I’m grounded, can’t you tell by my vanity plate?
A failure in perception, in judgement, in sense is enough to set me back and bring me down many notches, confirming what my gut has been whispering all along; you’re not good enough, smart enough, handsome enough, faking it all along until you set yourself up to some litmus test of character that confirms all those suspicions.
And that, I believe, by definition must be what is meant by midlife crisis. I’m not superhuman after all.
I’m selling the Boxster if you know anyone who’d like a clean, fast ride.