I've never tried to pay attention to people who brag. Which means that the auto industry is the wrong place to be. I don't pay attention to hacks who carefully cultivate their life of leisure, to an audience of sycophants.
You know the type.
"Today's office: LAX->DTW thanks @Delta! This car costs $286,000 and I'm driving it! Got a pretty nice view in #SantaMonica! Thanks for the Premium Plus upgrade #Delta! #PlatinumStatus Just another day at the office lapping this @PorscheUSA at #BigWillow! Never had Waygu beef before, it's not so bad! I've had worse days at #TheOffice! Thanks Macallan for the bottle of 17 year! Oysters at the bar! Lobster on the half-shell! Yamazaki 35-year! Keys to the Bentley! Ain't no party like an #autojourno party because we closed down the bar at @FourSeasons! Hey @MercedesUSA your #S63 #AMG is great for #burying this #hooker"
And there are certainly plenty in this industry—the people who love, love, loooove to brag to complete strangers about their privileges. Oh, don't get me wrong. These are all very nice people. Many of them I've shared a free glass of Macallan 17, on rocks, splash of soda*, at the Four Seasons in some city or another that I traveled to for free via a Delta flight. But then the Fear Of Missing Out strikes me, at home in my overpriced studio apartment, and all I see are trips and brags and faux-modesty humblebrags and weaselly slobber, the #hashtags and #joy and the #goodlife that is always #blessed, and then I stop following them on Twitter or Instagram, and then the haranguing starts. Lord, never let your children unfollow each other on social media. The ire it provokes…
But I, too, have had that first taste of the good life. I have stayed in an $800/night hotel, and eaten a five-course meal at a restaurant named after its celebrity chef. I have had that first bite of luxury, sniffed blood in the air, and left salivating, wanting more, more, more—hand me the keys to the Bentley, for the weekend, no mileage restrictions, put it on my tab, charge it to my $1,600/night hotel, damn right I have status on this airline, put me on standby, keep me moving, I have hashtags to caption to my Instagram!
Right now the automotive cognoscenti is going to Iceland, the land of the ice and snow!, presumably to taste smoked whale and express horror at fermented shark meat and also pootle around in an rugged off-road vehicle of some sort. Iceland is one of those mythical Valhallas, appropriately enough, that exists as a fantasy destination: the last truly offbeat travel secret, a paradise for the nature-obsessed and Europhiles and sauna enthusiasts, minus the punishing nine-hour flight—and, now, a favorite of car companies whose PR executives wish to impart an impressive ruggedness onto the automotive fourth estate, who will no doubt want their followers to think that they are partaking in something magical, adventurous, and authentic—which they will subsequently take to social media, Facebook, that great playground for the ego, where plenty of "today's office!" humblebragging will permeate the news feeds almost as much as Buzzfeed articles.
I have this strange notion, this weird vision for humanity, if you will, almost quaint in its vastness. This notion that modesty is an art, and it is something worth striving for. And that the ephemeral jealousy that one is tempted to evoke will only fade and wither, the sham that nothing you've experienced is real and genuine and paid for, and that all great experiences fade until one is left with a memory that seems more dreamlike than permanent.
But hey. That's asking to change human nature, isn't it? Maybe I'm just sad my ticket to Iceland got lost in the mail.
*Just kidding. Nobody drinks scotch with soda. What is this, the Seventies?