I heard the car before I saw it.
A growling, popping exhaust ricocheted off the side-street buildings, and I turned my head to see a bright red car make a tight turn onto 10th Avenue. I was on my daily walk in downtown Portland, Oregon, and I’m used to seeing — and hearing — nice sports cars in this part of town.
Ferraris, McLarens and Corvettes shriek and rumble from the Pearl District north to Portland State University, especially on weekends and late at night. Interstate 405 — aka Portland’s Late Night Speedway — is only four blocks away.
The streets were almost deserted — COVID-19. So, the driver had room to pop the accelerator — in a nice, restrained way — a couple times before the car passed me. Then the rear lights glowed, and the car swung to the curb.
A 2020 Toyota GR Supra!
I walked a little faster, as I haven’t seen many of these cars in the wild.
As I got closer, the driver’s door opened, and a younger guy — maybe 28 to 32 years old — uncoiled out of the car and shut the door. He walked all the way around the car. He was wearing a nice blue sweater and tailored khaki pants that hugged his legs — what a young professional guy would wear on a misty Sunday afternoon.
The car didn’t have license plates yet.
“Nice car,” I said.
“Thanks… yes, just got it today,” he said, his eyes never leaving the Renaissance Red. “Just driving it around….”
Then he looked at me — and smiled.
“I’ve wanted a car like this one all my life, and here it is,” he said.
“That’s a good feeling,” I said.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “I’m going to put a ton of miles on this car.”
He smiled again and let his eyes caress his car.
I started walking again.
As I walked through the darkening mist, I thought about dreams realized.
Most people carry dozens of dreams in their heads. Making those dreams real are milestones in our lives. It doesn’t matter if the dream is running a marathon, getting that first great job or buying a nice sports car. Making a dream real turbocharges a life.
For a lot of us, a dream car is often the end of a journey that started in childhood. For many of us, that journey is full of obstacles, some pain and momentary glimpses of the possible. That dream car is a talisman — a mark on the wall of life.
I thought about that guy pulling all-nighters, grinding on homework and sweating through his shirt during a job interview. I wondered what car he drove in college. I wondered how long he saved for his new 2020 Toyota GR Supra.
I thought about him getting up in the middle of the night and walking into the garage to see his gleaming car.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the dangers of losing driving to autonomous, robot cars. Really?
Driving is something that humans love to do. Getting to know a car — and sending it down the road is a real adventure we can have every day. Finally making a perfect run through that tricky corner is a moment that washes away marinating in a rush-hour traffic jam. Road trips are journeys of growth.
Making a dream real is a journey of growth.
Some people will seal themselves in robot pods, but millions will choose the quiet — and sometimes not so quiet — pleasure of getting behind the wheel, hearing that engine rumble to life and exploring this amazing planet.
Some time soon — if not already — that guy with the new Supra will wake up one morning with a new dream. I wonder what car it will be this time.
I’m pretty sure he’ll make it happen.