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May 10, 2010, at 2:51 am — Audio | audio podcast | Blogs / / /

Loco-Motive

Listen to the podcast.

“So you’re one of those artistic types, huh?”, asked the dealer. He was young, with Thai eyes and Spanish skin that laced his face with the heat of exhaustion and firmly held fast to his youth by proffering a glint of acne of each of his cheeks.

He tried his best to politely humor me with small talk. It wasn’t even 11 a.m. just yet, and already his shirt was dampened by the harsh sting of the San Fernando sun rising. He wiped sweat from his brow, and patiently listened to me launch into an explanation of what it meant to be one of those artistic “types”. The dealer of course was simply attempting to make a sale. But I, the first interested car hunter of his day, had other plans. First and foremost, I was going to attempt to explain to this man what an artistic “type” was.

“See”, I said, “Art is a form of expression. I feel something, or sense something, and I put that feeling into a word, or a sentence, or a thought pattern. I like a lot of different things. And they are all pretty much a form of art.”

His eyes began to glaze, and I knew I had lost him. I wanted to explain to him that we weren’t that different, he and I, and that if there was anything in his life that he put all of himself, all of his energy into, then he too was an artist. I wanted to explain to him that even though he sensed a divide between us, and even though I began to feel more out of place by the second by being branded one of those artistic “types”, that the artistic “type” I was being branded was no more a label than “corporate” type. I wanted him to know that I was a human being who had an unconventional way of conducting myself, and that he was a human being who had a more conventional way of conducting himself, but still, we were more similar than he supposed. But I turned away and asked him if I could test-drive a vehicle instead.

“Any passerby might casually dismiss this lot as just a breeding ground for car salesmen wearing ill-crafted, cheap, designer knock-off watches,” I thought. But as I looked around, I began to notice what was taking place all around me.

Cars weren’t simply being sold. They were being displayed, prized, showcased. I thought then about what it took to create the first vehicle, what kind of craftsmanship was involved in manufacturing one single part of a flawless engine, who originated the sleek lines of the vehicle using geometry, the metric system, precision, and massive amounts of collaboration.

I realized that the vehicle itself was a form of art. And my unsuspecting salesman had no idea what movement he played such a small, but fundamental part in. Because of the manifestation of one creative solution to a problem, because of one artist, millions of people in my generation had become blessed with a method of advanced transportation.

Maybe being “one of those artistic types” isn’t so bad after all…

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