The other day I went to meet my friend Kellie at one of San Miguel de Allende’s tiny ‘pocket’ cinemas showcasing independent films. It’s one of the many things I love about this beautiful culture-filled town we have found ourselves in for a month.
As I was walking along the cobbled street leading into town, a big yellow car pulled onto the main road.
I smelled it before I saw it. Thick clouds of black diesel smoke spluttered into the clear spring air, making me cover my nose and recoil in disgust.
It puttered down the road, spitting out its polluting fumes. The engine clapped loudly, piercing through the low hum of regular afternoon activity with an attention-grabbing sound track.
My mood immediately dropped. My thoughts were interrupted and replaced by anger toward this old, loud car which looked completely out of place on the gentrified streets of San Miguel’s centro historico.
As I continued my distracted walk along the path, I noticed the angry looks on the faces of passers by. The monstrosity of noises, smells and sounds puttered along in the weekend traffic; seemingly oblivious to the disapproving stares.
Store owners emerged from doorways to observe the source of the commotion and shake their heads at the canary-yellow disturber of the peace.
I didn’t blame them.
What an annoyance on an otherwise picture perfect day!
As the car sat idling behind a shiny new Jeep, its peculiarity was even more exaggerated. I scanned its pockmarked body covered in bright yellow paint, the bumper haphazardly attached and barely holding on. It would have been quite a luxurious ride in its day.
My eyes came upon a strip of LED lights above the rear license plate, flashing in the afternoon sun like a secret invitation to the party happening inside.
It was such an anomaly on this dented old beast.
How strange, I thought as my brain tried to make sense of it.
Then, it struck me.
This ‘monstrosity’ was somebody’s dream.
They had lovingly restored her beat-up body with a bright yellow paint job. They’d spent God-only-knows how many hours reworking her engine to get her to run and installed a small strip of LED lights above the license plate; a thoughtful addition of bling on this vintage dame once left to gather cobwebs in someone’s garage.
Maybe the dream hadn’t gone completely as planned, or maybe there hadn’t even been a plan, but none of that mattered today as she took a spin on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
My heart burst with the realisation of my own limited thinking. It was such a relief to see this car for what it actually was (or could be) outside of my own narrow view of what is ‘acceptable’.
It made me wonder how many other times I have judged something or someone for not being what I think they should be, or how many dreams of others I have inadvertently overlooked or judged because it was not something I considered a ‘valuable’ pursuit.
It made me think about how quick we are to judge something against our own values, rather than attempting to see it from someone else’s and expand our perspective in the process.
Most of all, it made me so eternally grateful for dreamers everywhere who drive their big yellow cars proudly and confidently, teaching me that true individuality is something to be celebrated, rather than judged into submission.
There was no keeping this girl down though. This big yellow car of dreams was out and proud and loving every minute of her joy ride, without fear or trepidation for being different.
She was teaching us all how we should be.
“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She arrives where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.” Maya Angelou