I was walking down the street and saw this Lexus with initials embossed into the seats and I thought, “That’s pretentious.” (You have to spit a little on the first “T.”) Being in a dismal mood I was ready to write anything off as ridiculous, preposterous or just plain stupid. But then I was pulled back to the days when I lived in America and drove a car with plates that had the initials LAF. My initials.
I had gotten those letters embossed on my plates because I always wanted to be reminded to. My parents gave me a gift, or God maybe, and that was to see the laughter each time I agreed to the regulations for a driver’s license or finished an arcade game.
I thought about those days, driving that car to the disc golf course in Rapid City, or across vast stretches of Dakota land, or spinning in an empty parking lot after a shift at the restaurant. I got lost in these thoughts for a while, reminiscing about happy times.
I must have looked actually lost because I was suddenly pulled back by a man asking me if I was looking for something. “Happiness,” I replied, with a wistful look. “Ha, that’s good!” he said, and laughing again, “That’s a good answer!”
And I thought back over those last few moments – the sweetest girl, with a smile to match answering my question in the local language, a poster in Japanese advertising the sukuri matsuri, or summer festival, and now this man, a beam of light in answer to an off-handed remark.
And then it hit me – I had completely missed it. Completely missed the joy that was inherently present in each interaction, in each sign, in each moment, waiting to be drawn out. My own pretentions had covered them all like a blanket, smothering the spark of happiness that would ignite into a warm flame if I would only whisper a breath of hope.
Sometimes pretentions aren’t pretentious. Sometimes they’re just joy without worry or hope without fear. I hope you search for that joy wherever you are and in whatever you do. If that means initials on your leather seats, then heck – enjoy it!
The least pretentious family you’ll ever meet – and the most joyful