Lady Driver Detour: A Word On Luxury

Finding ways to treat yo’self on the ride home

Photograph courtesy flickr/jinx!

After my conversation with JMPR President Joe Molina two weeks ago, I have been contemplating the idea of luxury, especially when it comes to the cars we drive. When I do the math in terms of hours, it’s obvious that my car is a huge part of my life: I spend more time with my Ford Fiesta than I do with my boyfriend. That’s love, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s luxury.

My car bears the brunt of my anger more often than my boyfriend does, due mostly to traffic on the 10. I’ll park it under a tree at night only to find it covered in bird droppings the following morning. I consume coffee, juice, and, sometimes, entire personal pizzas in my car and leave all the trash in the passenger’s seat. I drive until the low fuel light beeps…twice.

And that doesn’t feel too luxurious.

“This would never happen if I had a Porsche,” I often mutter to myself, opting to blame my poor Fiesta for L.A. traffic, my general messiness, and the uncontrollable bowels of birds. It’s an abusive relationship to be sure, but when I stop to think about it, I know none of it is my car’s fault. It’s mine.

Joe made a great point about luxury cars, saying that they are like a good wine—a way to treat ourselves. In order to treat yourself, you have to feel like you deserve it. Here is what is usually going through my head when I’m tossing a half-eaten burrito in the backseat: “I’m not accomplishing enough today. I need to keep moving so no one else realizes how useless I am.” No wonder my car feels devoid of luxury.

Luxury is the feeling of deserving something good—why is it that bubble baths are so amazing, for example? It doesn’t matter how much your car costs or how fast it goes or what country it’s from. What matters is that you feel like you deserve something nice, like you are going from Point A to Point B thoughtfully. Whether that means getting a car wash, eating lunch at an actual table, or just feeling good when you see your car in the parking lot, life is too short to be sitting in a pile of discarded In-N-Out wrappers.

Maybe you truly don’t have time. Maybe bird excrement doesn’t bother you. Maybe instead of indulging in luxury with what you drive, you find it in what you experience when you drive: the smell of the ocean through your open window as you cruise through Santa Monica, the swell of victory in your chest when you find a parking spot near an elevator, the beauty of Downtown’s skyline against a California sunset as the city’s lights appear like stars, one by one.

That, I think, is luxury. And you deserve it.

theessentials_masa_tChristina Wolfgram is a blogger who, like most Angelenos, pretty much lives in her car (a 2011 Ford Fiesta. ¡Ole!) Her mission? To investigate the California car-mosphere. Visit CityThink every other week to experience L.A. from this Lady Driver’s perspective, and follow her adventures on Twitter @TheCWolf.