I wanted to set an example. A bad example. Well, a good bad example. Not for my son, but for the men around me.
‘Boys and their toys’ people say, wagging fingers and rolling eyes.
Exactly. What is a boy with a toy, except for happy? And what’s wrong with happiness?
Before we get all naïve about it, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with happiness when it comes from a grown man clutching a metal thing he can see his reflection in and making ‘brrmm brrmm’ noises with his slightly moist lips. This slobbery gent has responsibilities. He has a family. He has a job. He has loved ones and limited time in the day. Happiness spent with his shiny metal thing is happiness spent in the absence of all those things one builds a fulfilling life around. Money spent on the shiny metal thing is money lifted away from comforts for those he shares his life with.
Fancy Car can easily equal Selfish Dad.
This is why Men In Flash Wheels are often regarded with suspicion.
‘Who went without?’ is the question that readily springs to mind when we see two doors and a sloping bonnet. Of course, there’s no way of really knowing, but for my friends, there is.
I come across as a reader, I suppose. Car-Guyness is something I’ve kept hidden. The car helped me come out of the closet in a few ways, but one of them was putting that little germ in the minds of those men around me: toys aren’t bad. Cars are fun. (Well, fun cars are fun.) Since it arrived I’ve started conversations about cars and seen a faraway look of dreaming and scheming I haven’t come across.
‘Hell’ it says ‘if he can do it, it must be possible.’
Even entering your dream-date coordinates into carsales.com.au is fun. I do it for people all the time.
‘Look!’ I write in an email out of the blue ‘There’s one in Melbourne! Look how priddy! Look how actually cheap the stupid thing is! Sell the Camry! Roadtrip!’
No one’s actually done it yet. The toy, for my friends, is a symbol of a very well-balanced life. No one’s trading folded arms and The Face of Disappointment for a 12 year old Beemer with a timing belt of indeterminate status. These things have to be thought through.
Toys must be earned.
So when I dropped by the in-laws yesterday, and saw a 350Z, in black no less, parked where a reliable station wagon should have been, I knew that in some small way, I had failed.
The good bad example was just a bad example.
The automobile that should have been able to ferry elderly parents and a child who cannot legally sit in the front seat was instead the black, sleek nephew to my own little slice of happiness.
I’ve never been a fan of the 350Z. As long as I’ve liked Skylines, 300ZXs, Silvias, GTRs and everything else, the 350Z always seemed a little bit buggy. As in: it looked like a bug. From a lot of angles, the tail is too long, the proportions a bit chubby. That’s usually fine. We all have our favourites.
Now it’ll always be the symbol of a dolt. A buffoon who thought of nothing but himself, until I, with the naivety of country kindergarten teacher on his first Tindr date, skipped by in the little piece of positive incongruity that I imagined would simply send imaginations wandering over to Gumtree > Cars > Under $10,000. Instead, I was saying ‘Let them all go without. Look after yourself.’