The other day I was sitting in traffic in my minivan. To quote the great 90’s hip-hop sensation Salt N Peppa, “…chillin, minding my business…” well, ‘chillin’ as much as one can in a minivan anyhow. As I was sitting in traffic, I couldn’t help but project my gaze forward on to a vehicle that had an odd design on the side of it. Now it’s not unusual for cars to have designs painted on the side of them, but in this scenario the car was a Nissan Maxima, which naturally begged the question, “Who puts a mural on the side of their Nissan Maxima?” As my lane inched closer to the Maxima I became rather curious, “Who is this mural person with a superhuman intolerance for the mundane? Who would convert a Nissan Maxima into a work of art? Surely they must have hair dyed some odd shade of magenta, a face tattoo or at least some kind of odd…uhh…hat!” As my lane moved closer, I couldn’t see the driver, just a white wall of vape smoke that filled the driver window (what suspense!) and as the window cracked open and the smoke rolled out and into the sky there he was…Mural Man…a total disappointment! No unusual fashion choices, facial characteristics, or even that hat I was so excited for. Oh, he was wearing a hat, but it was just a plane old hat!
Like something I would wear!
As I shook my head in disappointment and drove on to my destination I couldn’t help but find myself thrown into a moment of deep self-reflection. “Who the fuck am I? A man driving a silver Kia minivan with a pink sand air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror, to judge this guy who obviously took the time to painstakingly apply an intricate piece of car art to his vehicle for all of us traffic slugs to enjoy whilst I subject the world to no mural and my squirrel mug with nothing but a course 5 o’clock shadow to set it apart from the rest of the defeated dads in minivans.”
I guess existence is what you make of it. If you have unrealistic expectations and then those are never met, you are going to always be disappointed. It’s funny how when you extrapolate this concept through a whole day, week and then over months and years you can end up with a pretty bitter perspective, and all I was doing was taking that out on poor ‘Mural Man.’ What I should have done is look at ‘Mural Man’s’ mural, appreciated it for the masterpiece it was, and just let it stand alone and speak for itself. Instead I thought, “What else does Mural Man have to offer? He got me thinking so he owes me now!!”
This, of course, has made me wonder what others are projecting on to me when I’m in traffic. I’m considering just taking Mural Man’s lead and just writing what I assume people are thinking on the side of my van. Here’s a few ideas:
“Yes, I am close to my first prostate exam.”
“Yes, I own a device designed to shave my own back hair.”
“Yes, I own (and use) some of those moist adult-wipes.”
Another Idea I have, and this is a long shot, a mural of the famous “hang in there cat” (you know, the one that’s all wet and hanging from a clothesline) and then the words “hang in there” across the picture so that when people see it they look at me in the drivers seat with my 5 o’clock shadow, pink sand air freshener, two noisy children in back, wipe the tear from their eye and say “No Mr…you hang in there…you hang in there.”
I’ve also just considered making a mural of my own face on the side. Then when people see me driving they just think, “Yup, there he is, same face as on the side…hmm, that face has ‘prostate exam’ written all over it.” No one is either surprised or disappointed that way.
In western culture we have a hard time with the idea of simply letting things be. We don’t seem to have the ability to see an object or hear some music or whatever, and appreciate the beauty or genius enough to not expect more from it. Maybe it’s possible to look at a flawless little flower and not pick it from the spot where it is so comfortable and carry it home, just admire it and leave it be. To see a killer sports car, smile, and drive on without stewing over pointless thoughts of why you didn’t study a little harder so that you could own that car. I think ‘Mural Man’s’ intentions were simple and modest, he just wanted to give people something cool to look at while they were in traffic, he didn’t feel pressure to please judgment-projecting assholes like me and back that up with his appearance, or tint the windows some odd color to add to the mural’s details or add ground effects or something really expensive and stupid…he just thought the mural was enough, because it was! In fact, it's more than most boring-ass cars on the road have to offer, and now that I’ve thought about it for an afternoon, and wrote a whole blog post about it, I think I understand. Thanks ‘Mural Man,’ I get it now, the mural is enough.
Or maybe (stay with me now) the driver wasn’t Mural Man at all, maybe an ordinary guy driving a car with a mural like that is borrowing it from a wacky roommate, or it belongs to his eccentric sibling, or maybe, maybe he straight up jacked that shit! That’s probably what it was! Some poor unsuspecting person wearing one of those jester hats with the bells on the end walked out of their house or apartment that morning, saw that someone had jacked their rolling artwork and didn’t call the cops because, I mean, lets face it, that’s what a 'adult-wipe using narc' in a minivan would do.