A number of years ago, I was commuting back and forth, shuffling between Rohan, Worcester, Waltham and Acton. It was essentially a round trip of MA every week. It was exhausting.
On those rides, I'd see cars. Lots of cars, as I was on the Pike at least once, if not twice a week. The ones that struck me were the dark, shiny cars, with the dark tinted windows, usually with the "Livery" plates.
How much fun it must be, I'd think, to have someone to drive for you. As much as I love driving, at that point it had gotten old. How cool it must be to be important enough that you get driven. How sophisticated, how important. When you've "made it" you get to ride in the Big Black Important cars.
Tonight, I saw a marching band, in all their splended red and white glory, on a football field under the lights at a local town. I didn't get to see much of them, as we were stopped at a red light, but it made me think back to marching band days, (or in my case, Honor Guard days. I carried the big heavy spear-tipped MA state flag. Fabulous Dan got the US Flag, Tabor got the HVHS Flag.) Back in those days, Important Cars were almost never seen, and usually when they were, it was the unmarked statey's car. I guess that was where the concept of important people in important cars got impedded in my brain.
A very nice man, whose name I didn't catch, and who's english was not so good, drove me home tonight in a big black shiny car with tinted windows. I saw that marching band from the back, sitting on the shiny black leather seats.
And I thought to myself, what would the old me think of me now? Being driven, a big important person in a big important car. Who'd have thought I'd be in a big important car?
Part of me was tickled that I'd spited the devil who told me I'd never make it, but part of me was more than a little melancholy.
I'm am not a Big Important Person, and the mystique of the Big Important Cars are gone.
They are just people. More often than not, exhausted people who just want to go home. They don't do important things, like feed starving children or comfort the dieing or develop life-saving vaccines. They are sales people and project managers and designers who screw up product projections and display projects. They are nervous and tired and burnt out.
They are in the Big Black Important Cars because they have to be.