As I was driving west across Kansas during one of my cross country drives, I watched with amazement as a man driving a rusting maroon (maybe it once had been red) sports car zipped back and forth from lane to lane, passing this car and that, but never cutting anyone off. I’d rarely seen someone drive so skillfully.
Such a guy deserves a better car, I thought.
This man came to mind today as I was blocked behind a Bentley lumbering through West Hollywood. Why would someone spend so much money on a car, I wondered, and drive so slowly. This wasn’t the first time I had seen someone with such a nice car drive with such little respect for those on the road and with such apparently little enjoyment of the “art.”
I’ve been snuck behind slow-moving Mercedes in Laurel Canyon and seen sports cars slowing traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Here in LA where cars are status symbols, as soon as you earn enough to afford a BMW or Mercedes or Lexus, you buy one even if it doesn’t serve your needs any better than a VW or Honda. I knew a single mother who lived in a studio apartment with her son, but drove a BMV. I’ve had other friends and acquaintances live in similarly humble surroundings, but drive luxury cars.
And there’s there are the (apparently) apocryphal anecdotes which many an Angelon has heard of people who pay more each month for their car payment than their rent. The stories may not be true, but they illustrate a point about this town. Some people believe you are what you drive.
So, it is status. I just guess I’ll never get why people would spend so much on something that’s only for show. Maybe it’s in showing off where they derive their enjoyment. Still, it is kind of strange to see someone in a car designed for speed and agility, driving like they’re off to the church social in Granny’s Oldsmobile.