As LB recently on the blog I recently acquired a Porsche 911 – this is a car I have wanted since I was very young. My interest was stirred strangely enough by the likes of Bruce Lee, in my mad early martial arts days I read everything I could about him and in one of the pieces I read it said that he had bought himself a 911 at the first opportunity. And young teenage boys being mimics I decided I wanted one as well. What also needs to be remembered was that when I was growing up luxury cars of any sort were a rarity. The local car industry was turning out barren steel boxes that had little to endear them to teenagers looking for something much more exotic.
What is interesting about this decision is that I have been able to afford one for a very long time. I first started looking at them in the 1980’s and found them cramped for someone my size so moved onto other toys. In the 1990’s I revisited them and found them to be ordinary – the notion of never met your heroes was in this case true as they were profoundly disappointing when compared to other marques. Porsche lost their way two decades ago and nearly went broke. Ill-fated decisions to introduce the 944 and 928 put aficionado’s offside in a major way and once again I bought something else. However, my procrastination on this matter has lead me to believe that I was hesitating for perhaps different reasons.
To be honest my current purchase was more of whim – I had grown tired of the M3 as a daily driver and the car I wanted just appeared, so I bought it. I wholly understand that this is a fortunate position to be in. However, it has triggered some interesting emotions. I have come to realise that the fulfilment of childhood dreams has a much greater impact upon the psyche than dreams you acquire later in life. I spent the first weeks driving it around with an odd sense of so what and what now. Intermixed with this were strange emotions of not being worthy – something my arrogant self has never really suffered from. Ask anyone who has known me long enough and they will tell you I trade up very easily. Fly first class once and for me it is accepted as an everyday occurrence. I have no problem at all with such things. In fact, I am a complete pain in the arse.
Yet looking at this new addition sitting in my garage provoked different responses – it was almost as if I were thrown back to my teenage self, having my dreams ridiculed which is the default setting for many parents unfortunately. Owning it sat uncomfortably with me. This discomfort even extended to the way I drove it. I have been harsh in cars – to me they are things and things are meant to be used. Each one of them has copped a ferocious belting, they are very well looked after but each one has been used to its maximum potential. The 911 has been different for reasons still elusive to me but that is changing. For example, as I write this I am sitting in yet another aircraft having left the cat at valet parking and having belted it on the way to the airport only to be frustrated by the continual roadwork that are now all too common place for Victoria. The Talking Heads song Road to Nowhere adequately sums up Victorian transport policy.
This leads me to the ephemeral nature of dreams and what their achievement means to us. It has also made me curious as to the difference between childhood dreams and those acquired as an adult. It seems that those things we cling to from childhood have much greater purchase on our soul and mean much more. Therefore, they can be more unsettling once they are achieved. Adult dreams seem in many ways to be culturally acquired – they are things we often feel we need to have or do. Children don’t seem to now anything about flying first class or staying in five-star hotels but if they are like I was they know about cars and what they mean in terms of status. And this brings me back to a realisation I had decades ago – I only partially buy these things for myself. I also buy them, so others can see them, shallow and superficial but honest. I want others to know I am successful.
But there is also a secondary issue. Are dreams supposed to be accomplished and then you move on to the next one. Is there actually a next one and where does this leave people like Edmund Hillary or Neil Armstrong who achieve extraordinary firsts. Did they simply go home and twiddle their thumbs and dream about what was rather than what could be? After all, how do top achievements such as that. Or are dreams meant to be reset on a regular basis and it is not the size or attainability of the dream that is important but rather the journey towards it and the experiences that occur along the way.
So, it becomes a matter no such much of achievement but the journey towards the achievement. I have to admit I am not certain.