This funny painted car was parked outside the cafe where I was working last week. It brought back memories from my earliest days after college graduation. I'd been getting by with countless odd jobs, usually waiting tables within walking distance of my apartment. Standing on my feet most of the day or evening and then walking home was exhausting. All that changed when, about a year or so later, my parents gave me an old Mercury Monterrey. It was my first car and it was both blessing and curse. It meant I could go further than my feet would take me. That's the blessing part. But the car was constantly breaking down and, as the repair costs piled up, I had trouble staying afloat financially. (That's the curse.)
What's the connection between this cafe car and my first set of wheels? I loved the artwork on the cafe car and wondered whether the owner had added the mobile mural in lieu of a standard paint job. That's when I remembered the old Mercury Monterrey. It was rusting when I got it and my parents included a spray can of car paint that supposedly matched the original finish. Except, of course, it didn't. The car was faded to light blue and the spray paint was medium blue. I didn't carefully touch up the rusty places (as instructed by my parents), choosing instead to let loose with long blasts from the non-matching spray can. Even though there was a certain calico logic to the final paint job, I remember when my parents laid eyes on my newly renovated car for the first time. (Didn't I understand that you spray the paint into the can's cap and then carefully touch up the rust with a small paint brush?)
But now I'm not wishing I'd been more careful. I'm wishing I had purchased a lot of different colors and brought my inner artist to the whole rusty canvas that the Mercury Monterrey offered me. Perhaps aspiring to something like the car parked outside the cafe last week. In other words, I wish I'd been a whole lot bolder. Interestingly, as people age and evaluate their lives, they might wish they had spent more time with family or friends. They also might regret that they didn't make bolder choices.
So what's the moral of this automotive tale? Be bold.
Or... when Life hands you a lemon, give yourself permission to make a bowl of fruit punch.