Ahem. Well. I am afraid I have something to confess.
I usually spend quite a bit of time thinking about and writing this column. But during the holidays, I am just not in a serious or diligent frame of mind. I tend to allow my inner Martha Stewart to run amok decorating the house, shopping for Christmas presents and partying with friends. And during holiday season 2012, there has been an additional and unusual imperative to live it up while the living is good.
Just a few days ago, as you remember, we confronted the Big Deadline. According to the ancient Maya, the world was going to end Dec. 21. When the Mayan calendar was putting a period to the workweek, wouldn’t it be stupid to fret over Sunday’s column? The smart move was to put pleasure before work. And really, wasn’t procrastination only a show of respect for another’s religious beliefs? Far be it from me to offend any Mayan sensibilities.
There. That is my excuse. I did not write my usual crabby commentary because I had a note from my Maya. After all, this is Santa Fe. Which, by the way, is how I plan to segue into the rest of this column.
Since I have spent so many happy hours in the car in pursuit of Christmas cheer, I thought that I would share my newest insight: Your car reveals your character.
When you make a study of Santa Fe driving behavior, you discover a miraculous correlation between make of car and personality of driver. Here is what my research in Santa Fe has revealed:
• Hot and very expensive German sports car: Drivers of such vehicles are usually gray-haired, need to lose a few pounds and are slowing down. But they don’t feel old when they drive a high performance machine. Vrroom! Vrroom!
• Shiny and very expensive Japanese SUV: As the silky, snooty voice-over in the Lexus ad proclaims, some people care about “the pursuit of perfection.” Women who drive these autos are on their way to the gym, the masseuse, the manicurist, the hairdresser, the facialist and the dry cleaner. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
• Mercedes Benz coupe: The driver of a Mercedes frequently takes two spots to park because he does not want his car to be near other inferior models. He likely lives in a gated community.
• Very, very big truck: The gravelly, deep voice-over in the Dodge Ram ad on television suggests that only really, really, really big men have powerful engines like these. Did I mention these trucks are big?
• Small, older and very dented car that has fuzzy dice hanging from rear view mirror: A good rule of thumb — even if it’s your turn at the stop sign, yield. Or say a prayer.
• Subaru wagon: Drivers of Subaru cars prefer to motor 10 miles under the speed limit. They thereby express their belief that fast living is bad and more tickets should be handed out to everyone who drives a less sensible model. In elementary school, Subaru drivers were hall monitors.
• Prius hybrid: A Prius is a motorized placard declaring The End Is Near. And like all zealots, the Prius driver feels smug and self-righteous and superior to all those benighted gas-guzzling drivers taking the fast road to the hot place.
• The American Car: When new, these cars are advertised as aspirational choices; after five years of car payments, their owners no longer have any illusions about the American dream. Drivers invite mechanics to Sunday dinner so that their middle-of-the-road vehicles keep working.
I count my family in this group. One of our children has named our old 2003 Eddie Bauer Explorer, Jack. Every time Jack Bauer is driven, he seems to be having another near-death experience. Which brings me to my last category.
• Brand-new drivers: Teenagers want to go fast. Alas, mean old parents obstruct their burgeoning sense of style. My husband and I gave our first child a very senior, very slow to accelerate, very safe old white Volvo station wagon. It had more than a few scrapes and the family dog had chewed a hole in the passenger seat. Assessing her first set of wheels, our new driver was indignant: “All this car needs to be totally disgusting is a vanity plate that reads WHITE TRASH.”
If these predictions of driving behavior seem wrong to you, I would like to point out that prophecy is a risky and frequently unsuccessful business. To those Santa Feans whom I have dismayed or annoyed or offended, all I can say is — my Maya made me do it.
My very best wishes for a safe and happy new year!
Dorothy Klopf writes monthly about the foibles of Santa Fe, often with curmudgeonly intent.