the grey mini
maintenance existence
colorless … capture this somehow please

I emailed these words to myself at the end of a particularly unusual year.

My dear friend Amy had texted the words “maintenance existence” and I tied them to my experience with the grey MINI Cooper I’d seen on my way to work. As we approached it, it wasn’t just grey. Grey has a presence. Like graphite or granite, carbon, clouds or pavement. I kept staring at it and blinking. Looking harder at it and blinking some more. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but this MINI didn’t look grey like graphite, granite or pavement, it looked like someone had drained the color out of it. Like amongst this Technicolor world, it had been imported from a black and white movie.

I found it profoundly disturbing.

drained of all color
a maintenance existence
among the vibrant

This experience, combined with the words Amy had texted me, reminded me of how I’d been feeling lately. Of what I’d been struggling with inwardly. She’d captured it in two words:

maintenance existence

Any other car wouldn’t have captured my attention. It had to be a MINI Cooper because that is what I drive. I love my car and identify with it so strongly. I couldn’t take my eyes off this grey car I encountered on my commute to work. And no amount of blinking and looking again could bring the color back to it. The color, its lifeblood, had been drained out of it.

My MINI, named Sparky, is Lightning Blue. It is the blue of my dreams. One of the things I love about MINIs is that they come with a crazy, seemingly infinite variety of options. A variety of stripe options, colors, roof colors, mirror colors, interior finishes. There are so many ways to customize a MINI Cooper. What I love about Sparky, is that he is exactly what I wanted. Blue exterior with white top, white mirrors and white sport stripes appointed with 6-speed manual transmission and the climate package – which means heated seats – hooray!

sparkySparky IS my dream car. Looking at this grey MINI was disturbing because it was like looking at a corpse. Life without acknowledging a dream is like that. Colorless. It becomes a maintenance existence. And that was exactly how I had been feeling. Like what stretched before me was a bleak place where nothing but the monotony of the task at hand got done.

This experience reminded me I DO have a dream. I’d forgotten, really. I had put it squarely behind me, in my shadow, and forgotten that it was right there all this time. The only thing I’ve really ever wanted to do and not done. Yet.

Maybe 2016 is the year to put the dream back in front of me. To bring it out of the shadow and into the light. Where I can see it. Where I can breathe color and life back into it.