Friday, September 29, 2017

The White Car Epidemic by @mayatylerauthor

As a writer, I consider myself a keen observer of human nature. We are more than the fa├žade we portray to the public. What makes people tick? What motivations lie behind their actions? Are they conscious of these motivations?

Twelve years ago, I worked at a private IT company. Needless to say, it was a short-lived position. I learned quickly that ethical recourse doesn’t exist in the private sector. (I later learned it doesn’t exist in the public sector either.) Anyway, both the president and vice-president of this particular company drove white SUVs. From my observations of their blatant sense of self-importance and knowledge of their six-figure salaries, I hypothesized people buy white cars for status, and they are usually the nouveau riche. Over the years, I noted further evidence to support this premise. When I shared my theory with my husband, he was amazed. Every person we know with a white car fit the bill. Status hungry. Quasi or nouveau riche. And the recent boom in white cars in our neighbourhoods collaborates my theory. There is a ‘type’ of people who buy white cars. Is this a conscious decision?

Which other types crave this level of external validation? The person who documents their life—every mundane detail—on social media? The person who buys brand name clothing and accessories? The person who constantly flaunts their ‘perfect’ life before it all falls apart?

Life is a fragile commodity; built on an unstable house of cards. We buy over-priced homes, and fund our lifestyles with home equity loans. We use our retirement savings for vacations. Our credit cards are maxed. We live paycheque to paycheque. And we are delusional enough to keep accumulating stuff—in a desperate attempt to find fulfillment—to assuage our deep-seated unhappiness.

Observe the parking lot of an affluent shopping complex. Look at the cars lining the city’s main roads and highways. We are surrounded by flashy white cars. And their owners who thought buying a white car would show the world they had made it.

As a writer, I see beyond the owner of a white car. I see an insecure person seeking external validation to solidify their position in society. I see an arrogant person flaunting their wealth—or illusion of wealth—and their ‘good life.’ I hear a desperate cry for acceptance.

But who am I to judge? With my Nike sneakers and Coach handbag… choices I made for comfort and style…


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