I have an old truck. To be fair, I have an old bucket of rust that happens to have an engine and four wheels. Crush is a bright orange 1963 Chevy truck. As a car from the 60’s, Crush doesn’t have ANY of the modern conveniences that most cars have. No power steering, no power brakes, no power windows. Door locks are a hand driven afterthought. Hell, Crush didn’t even have seat belts until I added them.
So I was hauling down the highway the other day, it was a gorgeous sunny day so I had the windows rolled down and was enjoying driving my old truck. I was headed east on a local highway, it was late in the afternoon so I had the sun at my back. As I drove, the entire truck was rattling like it was going to fall apart, and I noticed that the setting sun was glaring off the passenger side rear view mirror and reflecting directly into my eyes. At first it didn’t bother me, but the longer I drove, the more the truck rattled, and the more the sun was right in my eyes. But it wasn’t just IN my eyes…it was boring through my eyes, straight through my skull and into the back of my head. I couldn’t reach across the cab and move the mirror just a little to the right so it would reflect someplace else without running off the road. It was just me in the cab, so I couldn’t ask anyone for help to move the mirror. I realized that if I was driving one of our other cars, the ones with power mirrors, I could just move the mirror with a flick of a switch. Before long, I was no longer enjoying driving my old truck. Gone was the fondness for the smell of a carbureted engine. Gone was the joy of really feeling the road. Gone was the fun of driving. All because the damn sun was in my eyes.
About that time, I realized something about myself, and I think, about our society in general.
When I was little, and wanted something that my parents either couldn’t afford or just didn’t want to buy for me, what did they tell me? That I had to, “make do” with what I had. When my toys broke and didn’t work anymore, we had to “make do” with them anyway, and it is amazing the creative uses we found for broken and repurposed toys. We “made do” with sticks instead of perfectly sculpted replica guns with live actions and sounds. We “made do” with paper airplanes instead of quadcopter drones driven by our smartphones.
Yet here I was, driving my beloved old truck, and I couldn’t “make do” with a little sun in my eyes? Have I become so spoiled in my life that I’m going to let something so trivial, something just not exactly the way I want it, ruin my enjoyment of the event?
We, as a society, are so used to instant gratification that we seem to have lost the ability to get by with anything that isn’t exactly what we want. In this day and age of customization based on demands, we throw a fit if our order isn’t exactly right at a restaurant and have a tantrum if the latest app doesn’t live up to our expectations. We have come to take for granted the simple enjoyment of something as wonderful as the memories resurrected by having to “make do” with what we have.
In the movie “Running Scared”, Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines play two tough Chicago cops who midway through the action take a vacation in Key West. On the first night there, they pass by a crowd gathered on the beach. Fearing the worst, they ask, “What happened here? Why are you all just standing around?” A local responds, “Don’t you see it? We are watching the sun set!” They reply, “Yeah, but it does that every night.” She counters, “Yes, and we come every night to watch it!”
They had gotten so caught up in the world around them that they failed to enjoy the simple things.
So, the next time you are driving along and the sun hits right in your eyes, don’t lose the enjoyment of the moment…just “make do” and enjoy the sunset.