Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Lamborghini

You’re going to have to get used to me being self-centered here on this blog for a little while longer.  Or not.  Or maybe this is something for me to think about — the best way to use this blog.  Maybe I should start another blog.  Make one blog about story-telling and writing.  And the other about kvetching and self-journaling.  I am going completely against the grain of blogging history here.   Most of you started out as “personal journals” writing for yourself and then your blogs turned into a business.  I started out as a place to make fun of pop culture, and now I just write about neurotic thoughts like bloggers from 2004.

Forget my last post.  It was bullshit and inauthentic.  I was using blogging as an excuse to really talk about myself, but I was too afraid to deal with those issues directly.

As you can tell, I am in a deep-thinking mode as I try to focus on my goals and get my life back on track.  One of the issues I am dealing with is that old villain — fear of success.

In my last post, I brought up the example of driving a Lamborghini to church.   This was probably the most important — and personal – part of the last post.  Since most of the comments were about blogging, and not fancy cars, I had the urge to re-write my last post in a new way, this time focusing on the Lamborghini.

1)  Make believe I go to church (let’s make it a nice Presbyterian church as an example).  I pull up in my Honda Civic.  My friend roars his way into his spot in his new Lamborghini.  Will I feel ashamed by my measly car?  What can I do so I don’t feel ashamed?  Can I reframe my thinking so that his Lamborghini will help motivate me to achieve more?  Should I not even give one thought to our differences in car brands?

2)  Why is my friend pulling up in this Lamborghini?   What is he saying to me?  Is he saying anything at all?  Does he really enjoy the ride or is he sending me a message?  Can I feel comfortable with my friend in his Lamborghini?  Can he feel comfortable with me?  Will I have to buy a Lamborghini for him to consider me a friend again?

3)  This is the biggest issue of them all for me.   Will I ever be able to buy myself a Lamborghini?  I don’t mean financially, but mentally.  Can I ever feel comfortable driving a Lamborghini to church without worrying about the others?  Can I ever just enjoy the ride?  Can I feel that I deserve it?  How will I react to my friend in his Honda Civic?  Will I still consider him my equal?   Can I change my way of thinking so that I see my Lamborghini not as something ostentatious but as a way to motivate others?  Is my brain holding me back because I feel more comfortable driving a Honda Civic than a Lamborghini?

37 Comments

  1. Your friend with the Lamborghini? He is probably saddled with huge payments and repair bills to maintain the car. He’s trapped by it – has to worry about scratching it every time he parks it at church.

    Your Civic gives you freedom.

    (If you ever wanted a sports car, you should go for a Maserati anyways. It’s less tacky.)

  2. Yes Neil, it is. Do you remember us talking in Chicago? Do you remember me asking you why you don’t believe you deserve happiness? It’s time for you to be “selfish” and do what’s best for you. What will make you feel good? What will make you happy? And yes, I can nag you now. That’s what happens when you adopt me as your friend. XO

  3. What’s so special about a Lamborghini? Does it have room for your friends? Isn’t it sort of grossly showy? Doesn’t it scream midlife crisis?

    Dunno. I’m a Honda girl myself. Actually Subaru. Whatev.

  4. i drive a honda civic, i love it! my two younger kids were involved in a head on collision in the summer and walked away with no physical injuries, could i have said the same had they been in that other car? i doubt it. i think you’re trying to measure success with materialistic items, doesn’t always work.

  5. Hondas are the only car I’ll drive. I mean it. Now, get back to writing good shit. That post where you mom was trying to get you to go look at the hat while you were trying to fantasize about the yoga lady, made me laugh out loud.

  6. Hmmm…. I see all of this as compulsive. Anyway, why do you care what the Lamborghini thinks of your Honda?

    Btw, blog about Project Valour IT today, and come over to The Kitchen Dispatch and leave word. I’ll enter you into a giveaway I’m doing to reward those who are taking part in the kick off.

    It’ll just take a second over here…possibly your shortest post yet, and there’ll be good karma for you!

  7. No, you are not holding yourself back because you feel more comfortable in a Honda Civic than a Lamborghini. Of course this is from the owner of a 1995 Honda Civic with 156,000 miles on it. In my completely biased, unfair, probably sabotaging-my-own-abundance opinion, anyone who drives a Lamborhini anywhere, much less to church (why were you Gentile in your fantasy?) is a putz, pure and simple. That said, I admit to plenty of “issues” when my daughter was young enough to have a carline at her school and I’d daily be wedged between two Lexus SUVs or worse. I didn’t want their cars but I constantly questioned why I couldn’t afford them, it’s true. So I get where you’re coming from but I still hope you are never “mentally” in the place where you can buy yourself a Lamborghini because of what I still believe that would mean. The idea of someone else’s Lamborghini as a “motivator” is a joke, it is purely about ostentation–if you have that much money there are SO many more interesting things you could do with it.

    Oh, and do NOT start a second blog, the fact that you try so many different things on this blog is what keeps me a devoted reader and admirer. I love your “stories” but I know if you had a separate blog for those I’d probably never go there. Because, truth be told, I love your kvetching about your insecurities and your daily life even more. But each one enriches the other.

    And back to your last post which I hadn’t seen until today, I don’t know why you’d call it bullshit. About your question whether online communities exist, my answer would be “oh my God, YES!” Having recently lost a child and spent five months in the hospital with my other one, I cannot begin to express enough gratitude for the actions of my online community which, in many ways, helped pull me through the darkest time in my life. If that ain’t a community, I don’t know what is!

  8. Oh, Danny, I just remembered. You wrote a post on this subject maybe two years ago… about money, etc. That is one of my favorite posts of yours. Can you comment with the url, because that was definitely relevant — another man’s POV.

  9. Perhaps I’m confused a bit by the Lamborghini analogy, but it seems to me you’re using a method of measuring your own success that you don’t believe in. You have distain for the Lamborghini, no? Maybe you should use a different measurement for success. One that has real value to you.

  10. And Danny, the reason I was going to a church in my fantasy, was that none of this showmanship and insecurity would ever occur at a Jewish synagogue, especially in the Los Angeles area — so I could not even visualize it.

    (that is a joke to Danny, dear Gentiles)

  11. I think I’d be more jealous of a Ferrari, to be honest! 😉 Lamborghini’s are over-rated anyway. Also, why couldn’t you still be friends with the Lamborghini driver? Do you really think this person will think less of you because you drive a Honda? If so, this person needs to be eliminated from your life. It’s very simple. Snobs are not worthy of most people’s time. There are a lot of people I know who are very financially secure who live humble, happy, cheerful lives, who do a lot for others, etc and don’t brag about it. They could also be driving very expensive cars but because they like the engine, the way it works, and felt it was worth their money – no need to show off there. A nice car is a well earned status symbol in a way, but it doesn’t have to be all ‘loud’. Are you happy with your Honda? If not, I suggest looking into any type of German made vehicle – as I feel a nice Passat is just a great as drive as most BMW’s, even if it costs less. Give it a chance, and also stop thinking so hard!!!!! Hope this made sense to you. It sort of makes sense to me.

  12. Hmm, it was probably the one I wrote about “plutophobia” (fear of wealth) almost four years ago:


    http://dannymiller.typepad.com/blog/2005/12/plutophobia.html

    Oy, four years later and not much has changed. Thanks for the mood swing…

  13. I once went to church with a guy who showed up with a Lamborghini. He sold it about 6 months later because he said he didn’t like how it changed how people interacted with him. I think he sought the dream as it was sold in our culture, and when he became it, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I suspect it never is when it revolves around status and material items.

    Your question about can you ever buy a Lamborghini is a good one, and gets at the crux of your issue. You want to be successful, but are uncomfortable with some of the implications of success while being drawn to them at the same time. A Lamborghini is sheer extravagance. There is a hollowness, a superficiality about it that would be ultimately unsatisfying for someone like you who does actually care about connections.

    Perhaps it would help to alleviate your ambivalence about success to think of it in different terms, such as what it would free you up to do that would be personally satisfying. In your case that would seem to be more about spending time with people you enjoy than doing something to big-note yourself in front of your friends.

    I suspect that for you being successful would be enough without having to rub people’s noses in it. Which doesn’t, of course, mean that you can’t show excitement (or still hunt for compliments) when it comes together for you.

  14. Danny – and you know I’m not really talking about stupid cars. I wouldn’t get a Lamborghini and drive it down La Cienega…. what a pain in the ass to park. Now that my SUV has been stolen, I will be driving my old Honda Civic back in LA, too, while Sophia will get the fancier Prius. I’m not a car person. But I am talking about the “Lamborghini’s” of life — which could be anything from a school to a job to a brand of rice cooker. I hear completely different voices in my head from both of my parents and own self.

  15. Do you even want the Lamborghini? Or do you just want to be completely comfortable with Honda? Or maybe there’s another model that you really like.

    The point is, it should be up to you. You have to live with it. Screw what anyone else thinks or has. If it motivates you to work harder toward your goals, fine. But if all it does is make you feel bad about who and what you are then it’s shite.

  16. And I’m not talking cars either.

  17. Finn – the Mini Cooper is always a good car!

  18. We have a neighbor who owns a Lamborghini. He is known around here as a “pompous ass”.

  19. The key here is your constant anxiety: What do people think about me?

    You should not be defining yourself, your goals, your happiness, what you like or don’t like in relation to how other people perceive you or based on what your parents or Sophia want.

    Your focus should not be on endlessly analyzing what Twitter means, the social hierarchy of the blogosphere, the pull between art and commerce, the meaning of peripheral relationships.

    What you should be obsessing over, analyzing, and constantly considering is what you want your life to look like, and how do you get from where you are to where you want to be. Chart a course, make a plan, take steps every day (even small ones) to making things happen.

    You are stuck in your car idling in your driveway, reading the owner’s manual over and over again and wondering if this is the car for you. Like it or not, this is YOUR car. Now drive it to where you want to go!

  20. Neil. You didn’t think any of us were actually talking about CARS, did you?

  21. Well not so easy to just say chart a course and find out what you want and forget about the others. When you say that you hear different voices in your head from both parents, that shows that the first issue is trying to get a solid sense of who you even are as opposed to all the voices or parents, bloggers, yourself, media etc.

    The conflict I see is between a wish for unconditional love vs. achievement and success. The Lamborghini is a symbol of classic male drive and aggression. Interesting that the fantasy is driving it to church, again you set up a juxtaposition of aggressive car vs. the selfless (supposedly) community of the church. So somehow in all of this there is a dilemma, that to accept the aggressive drive of creativity means to be aware of something potentially destructive. As if that drive will destroy the possiblity of getting the unconditional acceptance, typically something associated with women starting with mom, that is also needed. So I think you’re looking for a way to combine two parts of yourself that currently seem far apart.

    Its not surprising that the two poles come together in your question about what it means to want attention. Because attention is connected both to the attention given by a warm accepting maternal embrace but is also associated with the attention brought on by achievement and external status. So again its balancing those two poles that I see you working on. So you clearly do want attention, but are conflicted about wanting it, that’s my take.

  22. P.S. I also meant to comment on this line:

    “Most of you started out as ‘personal journals’ writing for yourself and then your blogs turned into a business.”

    Is that really true among your readers??

  23. Neil, who in the hell cares what kind of car you drive or house you live in, or clothes you wear? If they do, do you want them as a friend? You find your self love inside, not outside. Yes, the world is a fucked up place, but you don’t have to buy into it. To me success is how happy I am not how much I have. xoxo

  24. One would think that the Honda Civic is MUCH more reliable, more trusted, and way less pretentious…don’t you think?

  25. Feeling very cynical (and a little sad) because Evan’s comment made me realize I dont believe in unconditional love, except between parents and children.

  26. I don’t care one bit about cars or changing the endings…. but if you could stop apologizing for your posts, I’d be ever so grateful. xx

  27. V-grrrl – Just so you know — I know him. And he’s a professional.

  28. My female friends and I refer to status cars as “tiny penismobiles”. If you need a car to speak for you, then you must be lacking adequate genitalia. Most guys who drive cars to impress are dicks. Just sayin.

  29. So this wasn’t a post about weird sex fantasies? I think I like Evan’s take.

  30. Neil, I really like this post. It makes me think about a habit many of us have, measuring ourselves with certain “symbols.” For me, you also hit on the note about the motivation behind these symbols: does person X do something because it makes him/her feel happy, or does s/he do it to make other people feel “less than?” Maybe it’s that I’ve been grappling with these questions a lot recently, but you really gave me a new way to think about it. Thank you!

  31. I know someone who is worth somewhere around $125 million and then some. He owns a Ferrari, a Bentley and a Lamborghini plus a slew of houses.

    He also owns a Honda Civic.

    During the week he drives the Civic. The “fancy” cars are for fun. He drives them on the weekend or on holidays.

    He bought them after he made his money because he could. Not to mention that he felt like he was worth enough that he wasn’t going to always worry about the cars.

    They weren’t going to own him, he was going to own them.

    Life is all about what makes you happy and fulfilled. The trick is finding out how to do that without being a complete jerk in the process.

  32. The narcism of thinking another’s object was meant to speak to you, your situation or life may be the issue. It is possible to drive a Lambo selflessly for the performance let’s say without regard to self indulgent exhibitionism. Possible. I drive this Lambo because I love the lofting smell of italian leather and I plan to put alot of money in the offering.

  33. Oooh, I so want a Maserati! Pretty!

    But when it comes down to it, I am more than happy with my Toyato Highlander. Truth is, I’m a pretty low maintenance kinda girl. I just need my car to be safe and reliable. It’s funny, but every now and then I’ll really want to be more ? I don’t know – trendy? I want to have new fashionable clothes. Get mani/pedis. I wish I had a reason to buy cute new shoes, bangles, etc. But it never lasts. It just not who I am. I’m always going to be most comfortable in baggy paint-stained jeans and a t-shirt.

    Don’t move to L.A.

  34. none of our opinions of the Lambo are important, the question is do you think you’re worth the car?

  35. Flutter — hmmmmm….

  36. The reason one drives one’s Lamborghini to church isn’t to lord it over on the other parishioners. It’s to impress God. God takes one look at those wheels and says “Wow. That guy arrives at my house in STYLE!” Prayers are more likely to be answered.
    If you’re going to arrive in a lowly Civic, you might as not well go at all. Good luck with those prayers, cheapskate!

  37. What your describing, I think, is scarcity thinking. The idea that there isn’t enough – so if you get something, that means someone else is going without. For a lot of people, that’s what fear of success is about.

    Have you ever done any reading on “abundance” thinking? Basically – the belief that there is more than enough to go around, and so if you take all that is available for you, you’re in no way preventing someone else from doing the same.

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