I am indebted to
who contributed material for this conversation.
I'm driving a platinum blue 2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 by my
traveling north on Highway 29 through California's
where I live. It's been raining - but it isn't now. The air has that
sparkling clear scrubbed clean look and feel, accentuating
the sky and a few clouds as if they're pasted there from a
The Mercedes purrs hugging the asphalt, as sure footed as
gripping its tracks.
Vineyards sweep by. Fields sweep by. There's no exterior sound. This
car is so well sealed it could float. It requires very little driving.
I've got my right foot barely touching the gas pedal, my left leg
folded close in to the seat, my left hand on the steering wheel, my
right arm resting on the plush upholstery next to me. Looking through
the windshield this way, I'm as alert and relaxed as when I watch an
I don't want for things in my life. I have all the things
I need. And if I am to have things, then I want the best. I own a top
of the line Mont Blanc Meisterstück pen given to me
as a gift. It's the finest pen there is. When I hold it in my hand, I
know it was made to fit my grasp. The heft is perfect -
plain and simple. As for Mercedes-Benz's, I don't own one. But certain
models are in my top ten favorite cars. Now I'm driving this one - with
going on, without wanting to own it, yet with total appreciation for
so finely engineered. After watching the fare dished up by the media on
the evening news, the sheer artistry which crafted this car is a
refreshing reminder, for a change, of one of the things we're really
good at. There's
to do in this moment except sit and enjoy (no, revel in)
this immaculate car and it's unique ride.
I come to an intersection, easing to a stop in front of the red light.
The Mercedes slows without so much as a squeak or any interrupted
momentum which, in any other car, would have swayed me forward in my
seat (the suspension system and shock absorbers stabilizing this
work of art
on wheels are impeccable). I'm sitting at the intersection
on my mind ...
... until it slowly dawns on me this is where I used to turn off the
highway to go to a place I once lived. Living there wasn't a worse time
of my life or a better time of my life than now. Rather what's true is
it's a past time of my life. And I don't make this turn
much anymore these days.
Sitting here in the Mercedes stopped at this red light at this
particular intersection, I notice I'm in an entirely new realm from
where I was then. I don't recall making much of an effort to move from
that realm to this. Yet here I am, having made a segue I
never imagined I would make: from that ... to this ... and
this is proof I did.
Yeah ... but ... (and in a flash, I see it so
clearly ...) this is perfect, right here in this
car, right here at this intersection, right here under this sky and
these few clouds pasted there from a
This is the best there is. This is the best there could ever be.
And I nearly missed it. I nearly forgot to choose this is the best
there is right here and right now. When I get this,
all the air goes out of my lungs in a spontaneous sigh of joy.
Interesting ... While sitting, I'd started thinking how it
be finer. Now, I'm ... just ... sitting. Now it seems as if I've
been just sitting here for all eternity past. Now it seems as if
I'll just sit here for all eternity to come.
The light changes to green ("Go! ..."), interrupting my
reverie. Again with no momentum swaying me backwards, the
Mercedes accelerates as smoothly and as powerfully and as effortlessly
as a Saturn rocket
blasting off except without the sound.