Photograph and text © 2007 by Julius Lester
I’ve always invested as little in a car as possible. My attitude was, it’s just a car, something to get me from one place to another and back home. But this time when I started thinking about getting rid of my 12 year old Saturn wagon, I let myself think about getting a car with a few amenities. At age 68 I know that the future is now.I did a lot of research on the Internet and finally decided on a 2007 all-wheel drive Volvo Cross Country wagon.
I have never had a car that did almost everything for me,leaving me free to enjoy the ride. The navigation system frees me from looking for street signs; the windshield wipers come on automatically on when it starts raining and adjust their speed according to how much rain is falling. The rearview mirror dims automatically if the headlights of the car behind shines on it. The dual climate controls bring even more happiness to my happy marriage.
The sensors on the front and rear bumpers beep when I am close to something and give a continuous tone when I am within nine inches of making contact. One of the car’s computers automatically calculates how many miles to the gallon I am getting as well as how many miles before I run out of gas.
The seats are leather as is the steering wheel and the dash. I have Sirius Satellite radio which I keep tuned to Channel 74, the blues station, a hookup for my iPod, as well as a 6 disc cd player, Dolby surround sound, with volume controls on the steering wheel.
The dealer did not have a car with my exact specifications and could not find one at any Volvo dealership in the country. So my car had to be made in Sweden.
I've been driving the car since February, and I am a changed driver. To my amazement, I obey the speed limits now, something I have never done in all the years I’ve driven.
But because the car is so comfortable, because the car is a joy to drive, getting to my destination as quickly as I can is no longer the object of driving. Now it is the ride itself. I am enjoying the journey, instead of focusing on getting to my destination as quickly as I can.
Enjoy the journey, whatever car you have. Enjoy the journey even if you don’t have a car.
Enjoy the journey.
Festina lente. Make haste slowly.
Enjoy – from Old French enjoier, from Latin gaudere ‘rejoice’: “To be in joy, or in a joyous state; to manifest joy, exult, rejoice.”
My new car