We purchased a new truck for work. I suppose, as trucks go, it looks pretty good. It’s lettered with the business logo and phone number. I’m not overjoyed by the thing. It represents pollution and more junk that will, eventually, end up in a landfill.
My husband stopped at the gas station one day, last week. As he got out of the truck, a small minded, mean spirited person, incapable of critical thought, said to him, “Nice truck. You must think you’re special.” My husband, who was feeling quite testy, looked calmly at that uncharitable person and said , “Yes, I do.” Later on he came home and commented as he finished the story, “I wish I’d told that mindless moron that he could have a truck just like it, if he wanted to work 10-16 hour days, 7 days a week, like I do.”
You know we work hard and, bless your hearts, you know I don’t enjoy it. We don’t think we’re special. We have never aspired to be important people. We don’t live a sophisticated lifestyle. We are not flashy. We’re trying our damnedest to be the best human beings we can be.
Speaking honestly, I believe I am special, if special means unique. If you could see me right now in my wool socks, periwinkle capri sweatpants, and forest green sweatshirt with clashing shawl you’d know how exquisitely special I am.
Over the weekend, we found ourselves in a lovely neighborhood where affluence is tastefully understated. I am fond of little pockets of loveliness and the illusion of tranquility and ease they present. I’m grateful to be segregated from the worries secluded behind the facades of affluence.
We stopped at an artsy, organic restaurant. As we inspected the homemade soup offerings, I overheard a table of male architects posturing conspicuously. I noticed them as soon as we got to the dining room; a delightful space with floor to ceiling windows, large jade plants, white walls and original artwork. Two of the architects were 30 something, one had a perfect simple gold hoop earring, a young trust-a-farian, I am sure. They were interesting until I overheard their dialogue. Did one of them live in the same town as the other? No, but he did live on the “peninsula” enjoying the fruits of his implied special status. The conversation was embarrassing for its blatant ostentation.
Importance is entirely subjective. Status is not important. Possessions are not important. The only thing that makes any one of us special is the way we treat the people we encounter. Even that brand of special has a limited shelf life. Special is a fleeting vapor that offers no protection from life’s hardships. We’re all special, in the same way that Margaret Mead described us as being unique, just like everyone else.