Dear Dirty America


My Golden Opportunity Devolves Into A Lesson About Michael Hastings’ Death

My Golden Opportunity Devolves Into A Lesson About Michael Hastings’ Death
October 25
18:19 2013

My dream of driving somebody else’s luxury vehicle nearly happened in the real world, except it manifested in a degenerate way, like most American dreams do. Gnarled and downgraded. Like wishing for a gourmet pizza but getting a half-eaten calzone.

Just like every other struggling Hollywood actor, artist, and musician, I’ve been experimenting with the law of attraction, yet every time I hunker down and pinpoint a chief desire in my mind to focus on while I eat and sleep, it congeals on this physical plane in a downgraded form.

I was aiming for an immaculate white Jaguar XK luxury automobile, not because I need it to carry me from point A to B, but because it has a marvelous design and the car would, essentially, step in as an extension of my manhood. Subconsciously people would inflate my real worth on this planet to something greater just because of the vehicle I drive. In short, I would be regarded as a player in this American society. I’d be part of the few, rather than another ugly red face blending in with the clamoring masses.

The golden opportunity…kind of

“Well maybe you want to drive my car around the block a few times, just to get the feel for it,” she said. She was my new friend, an upper middle-aged Asian woman, I’d met over coffee. We discovered through small talk that we had a mutual friend in the area.

People are always asking me to drive their cars. I’m not sure why, but this has happened multiple times in my life. Mostly, I decline the offer. I don’t want to drive your vehicle. Unless it’s really going to be a novel experience.

We discussed how pleasant the October weather happened to be as we sat outside at nearby tables enjoying our drinks. I mentioned that the cooler air had me thinking back to a year ago when I began lusting after a very expensive vehicle, and I was embarrassed to admit it, but I’d been imagining my hands gripping that steering wheel every night while I fell asleep.

That’s when she told me she had recently bought her dream vehicle.

“My Mercedes Benz is the best car I’ve ever owned. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s your golden opportunity,” she said, winking at me, “if you want to drive it.”

I don’t know, I responded, I mean, it’s not a Jaguar, and also there’s liability to consider. Just imagine an 88-year old speed freak jamming her Honda Civic through a red light downtown and totaling your car with me driving. The guilt that I would carry for the rest of my life, I said, shaking my head. If I were injured, even though it wasn’t your fault nor mine, my insurance company would sue you for medical bills. I’d hate to have all that on your head, but how often do joyrides turn into major crises? I asked.

“We’re not going downtown,” she said. Her laugh was pleasant, a seasoned chuckle from a veteran human who’d lived two and a half times longer on this earth than me. “Speaking of joy rides,” she said, “the only reason I had my second child was the result of a joy ride. Many years ago. Ancient past.”

My new Asian friend insisted that I’d turn into a prune if I didn’t take her up on the offer. “If you haven’t driven a luxury vehicle, here’s your chance,” she said. “If you don’t enjoy life and the people you meet, you’ll shrivel up into an old man.”

I feel old, I said. Unnervingly, I sense the end of my life creeping up. I’m exhausted. A tired old man.

My friend stood and walked a few feet down the sidewalk. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s get this out of your system.”

Dear Jesus, the horror!

She’d parked a block away. We walked past the cars shining in the sun, and the local shops with their sales signs set up along the sidewalk, and we dodged a stream of antsy young women carrying yoga mats on their backs. The door to the barbershop was open. An old man inside, holding a buzzing metal clippers, jeered at me. He waved the clippers in the air. His lips peeled back. His blocky teeth were yellow.

My friend noticed, too. “I suppose everybody has an opinion about your hair, huh?” she asked.

Either they think it’s cool, sexy, or nasty. Homeless people always ask me for a light. Potheads always ask if I have any. And you wouldn’t believe how many people ask if I’m growing out my hair for charity. Would you believe that kind of audacity? I asked. I’m not a human hair farm.

Mercedes_250My friend rummaged around in her purse. She pulled out a limp pair of white gloves. “Put these on,” she said. “Here’s the car.”

There was no way I was going to wear driving gloves that rolled up to my mid-forearm. I don’t know many people in Los Angeles, but I know a few, and if only one of them saw me in white gloves driving a luxury sedan around town, I’d never live that down. I’d have to move to Scots Bluff, Nebraska for a few years to let the memory fade.

She hit a button on her key fob and the headlights of a white car flashed. The Mercedes. A C250. White.

“There she is,” my friend said.

I dropped the floppy driving gloves. That’s the car, I said. You shouldn’t even have that thing out in public. It’s a safety hazard.

“What?” she asked.

I pulled out my smartphone. Smartphones have not done our culture must good since their arrival, but besides fragmenting our consciousness and stealing every last minute of human serenity and mindfulness, they do provide rare teaching moments.

These cars veer off the road and into palm trees, I told my friend. Mercedes C250s. That Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings died in that same model. You’ll just be driving down the road and suddenly your engine will fall out, and your car then jackknifes and you wrap around a tree. I said, Watch this video:

“It looks like the car blew up first!” she said. “That’s clearly an explosion.”

No way, I said. You think so? Maybe that’s why Hastings’ car lost its engine and drive train 6o yards behind the crash. Either there was a bomb placed in the dashboard of that vehicle, or Mercedes makes cars that spill their guts while you drive down Highland Avenue. And according to the LAPD, there was no foul play. The FBI says to leave it alone. The CIA said they didn’t have anything to do with it. Famous journalists die every day, so why waste time investigating this?

“How fast was he going?” she said, still looking at my smartphone. She wrapped her cool fingers around my hand to look closer at the video.

Experts say, from that surveillance video, about 30-40 miles per hour. But mainstream news likes to say he was traveling between 100-130 miles per hour. That way they assure themselves it was an accident. Otherwise there’s a lot of work to be done in determining why Mercedes cars blow up while being driven by controversial journalists who criticize every major American power structure, from the military industrial complex, to the White House, to the NSA and CIA.

“My God, I can’t believe that was a Mercedes,” she said.

The same model as this beauty here. Mercedes says their cars don’t just blow up, but I wouldn’t be too sure, I said. I stooped to pick up the driving gloves. I brushed them off on my pants and handed them back to her. I’d take a cab, if I were you, I said. Until Mercedes either admits Hastings’ car was blown up, or that their cars randomly explode while being driven down the street, you’re not safe.

I think from now on, I said, I’m going to stop trying to manifest petty worldly items and focus on clarity, awareness, and spiritual revelation. Protection, too. This car, house, money bullshit is not working well. No offense, I said. You didn’t know you were driving a potentially hazardous vehicle.

I took my leave of her, then, and wished her well. As I walked away, she asked if I would at least like a ride home.

Are you nuts? I called back to her. I’d rather take the bus.

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  1. William Bengtson
    William Bengtson October 25, 22:33

    Confucious say : “Beware unfamiliar middle aged asian woman who offer keys to white Mercedes and matching elbow length gloves.”

    It sounds like you almost tasted the fruit of the poisonous tree….im glad that you are able to see the Mercedes for what it is… An illusion of Goodness and Beauty. Memesis. Maybe you are Plato’s Philosopher King, destined to free humanity from the black sphincter that binds it, and into the one true and eternal light…. The light that is JAGUAR!

    Reply to this comment
    • DDA
      DDA Author October 28, 16:10

      You might be right. It’s no wonder I have trouble maintaining a positive mood. Maybe I’m treading too close to the binding sphincter. It’s a crummy, crusty affair. But it needs loosening. You’re right. Let the sun shine in.

      Reply to this comment
      • William Bengtson
        William Bengtson October 29, 21:42

        I bet the Mercedes would have been pretty fun to drive though.

        Reply to this comment
        • DDA
          DDA Author October 29, 21:48

          I think so, too. Do you think those driving gloves would make a difference? Extra grip on the wheel? Or just for looks?

          Reply to this comment
          • William Bengtson
            William Bengtson October 30, 11:27

            Both I imagine, unless wearing white gloves after labor day is a fashion no-no.

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