At various points in our lives, there appear objects of desire we feel certain will make our happiness complete.
This idea is manifested daily on HGTV as 20-somethings buying their first homes insist on granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances despite the fact they are currently living in their parents’ basement, sleeping on a futon they bought for their first dorm room.
Plain and simple, they will not be happy without the desired upgrades. “But we wanted four bathrooms and a three-car garage,” they whine, forgetting they’re still driving the car Mom and Dad bought them for high school graduation. Neither do they realize the mortgage they’re about to be saddled with will keep them house poor until their kids are old enough to whine about a new generation of things. By that time, their kitchen, their home, will be hopelessly outdated.
Do you remember the ’80s? Wallpaper in every room, hot tubs, and all things mauve. These are the things we coveted. Our peace of mind depended upon Spode Christmas china or 100 percent cotton kitchen towels. How we young marrieds fretted over our pastels as we discussed the improvements we would make. Some of us actually went through with them — others had a drink and waited for the feeling to pass. It always does.
One gift of age is perspective, though there are days I’d trade it for cartilage-cushioned joints. Having lived more than a decade or two, it’s easy to see how trends come, go, circle back and reappear just as you’ve steamed off six layers of floral wallpaper and Sheetrocked the plaster.
The sage green family room of five years ago is being wallpapered with the new neutral. No, not gray — that was last year.
Cars. This year they all look like sedans that have been rear-ended by a front loader.
My car is old, but I remember when it was young and beautiful with a new car smell (that smell is toxic by the way. Something about off-gassing.)
Trouble was, it looked like every other champagne-colored car in the grocery store parking lot — our automotive field of dreams. Champagne, silver and beige are out now; black and white are in. Though I am out of fashion, I do spend less time looking for my car at Kroger.
Remember eight-track and cassette players? Remember CD players? Now cars must have the latest technology, a lot of it, so much you can’t possibly drive the car because you’re too busy with the communication method most likely to be outlawed while driving.
Desire, it follows us from cradle to grave, though mercifully it tempers itself over time. The lust for a 1960 Volvo PV544 dissipates, until one can be satisfied with a simple pot of violas on the porch step.
Oh, that’s nonsense. Given a choice, I’d much rather have the Volvo, while knowing full well that’s not where happiness lies.
Jan Hearne is Tempo editor for the Johnson City Press. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.