I have this very vivid memory in my mind of exiting a cramped, small, late aeromexico flight from Mexico City to Guadalajara. As soon as I entered the jetty, a thick, musky air surrounded my body; its heat made itself present all over me, and the stench made my nose swear that I was, in fact, somewhere else.
I looked over, to a short, thin man, with thick black hair held in place with what seemed like a bottle’s worth of gel. This man, upon looking back at me; tired, wasted, worried, and anxious, shouted emotively “Welcome to Guadalajara!”
It felt different, it felt innocent, and it felt fresh. Often, when you visit airports people feel like shit, and they act like shit, and, even if it’s their job, they don’t seem excited to welcome newcomers to their hometown.
I don’t know what lead this man to welcome me with such warmth, into a city I’d only spend ten minutes in, waiting for a connecting flight to California.
But it stayed in my mind, and the hope of an exciting, adventurous city lived until I deplaned today, into a similar jetty, and there was no short man to speak of.
I hurled my way through the airport, as if it was a regular shopping mall, and into a Toyota Hiace that would deliver me to a depot where this Chevy Aveo awaited me.
I requested a manual car, I wasn’t given one, I had to pay a young driver fee, I did not see that reflected in my credit card, and I was, once again, hurled, into this small pointless car. the traffic felt normal, the latent anger in people felt normal, the carelessness, the desperation for something else. It all felt like it was a normal day, in any Mexican City.
This Chevy Aveo, with shitty noise deadening, and touchy brakes, feels like a boring car. I wanted to slam its biggest issues, and praise its biggest selling points. But I can’t because nothing really stands out... perfectly OK for it’s class but nothing else.
Life isn’t like a box of chocolates, it’s more like a rental car; you don’t really know what you’re gonna get, even if you planned in advance... and things that seem obvious on the outside are, in fact, different once you dig in.
I thought Guadalajara would be a throwback to a time when people felt excited about their hometown; here in Mexico at least. I wanted to live that long-lost thirst to impress that Tapatios were known for. I wanted to feel like that short man. “Goddamn, I’m a special guest at an international book fair!”
So, all this bullshit of “what is a car really?”, followed by a list of features a simple car doesn’t have... it’s just that...bullshit. Cars shouldn’t be simple, this Chevy shouldn’t even be for sale. It’s not because it’s bad, it’s because it misses the point of private transportation
I don’t want to feel normal in this car, or any car, having a car today- or any day- is a privilege; and the car should prove it feels exciting. It doesn’t even have to be good... it just has to be exciting, it has to make me feel like it’s better than a taxi, or a bus, or a metro...
And yet it fails upon first inspection. What little hope rests in my mind goes away as the ignition sparks and the gear selector clicks into D.