Isn’t life grand! From the post fifty perspective that is the lesson learned from surviving the past half century. There is, however, one caveat. First, we have to learn how to live.
More on this in a moment but first we need a reference point. In this case it is merely the word “simple”.
Consider this period advertisement for Pierce-Arrow. In the long annals of automotive history has there ever been advertisement as simplistic as this?
No long winded prose, no stunts, just understated elegance. Advertisement such as this was the rule not the exception for many years at Pierce-Arrow and yet the company was one third of the Peerless and Packard monopoly of the luxury car market.
The Corvette and Chrysler advertisement follow this theme though not as sedately. Simplistic promotion of a dynamic product in an era of Fifth Avenue devised flamboyance enabled these to stand out from the crowd.
The promotion for Route 66 and Route 66 themed products has not been as restrained. In this scenario it is the product that is simplistic in nature, at least that is the perception that has been nurtured.
Herein lies the answer to most questions as they pertain to life on planet earth – keep it simple. In relationships or automobiles, jobs and the things we buy keep it simple.
If you are not familiar with the concept of keeping it simple or or are not sure how to break the hold of hustle and bustle the modern era has on you, here are some simple beginning steps.
Find an old highway, preferably one like Route 66 and drive without thought as to destination. If your worried about the price of gas skip a few meals at McDonald’s or a couple of Starbucks coffees in the weeks before you go.
Don’t plan beyond ensuring the car won’t become a search and rescue vehicle (if you leave town they will have to come search for you and rescue you). Simply get out of bed, go through your morning routine, get into your car, back out of the drive, and go.
Eat one meal on the road. Find a little cafe or coffee shop where you have never stopped. If the budget is tight make it pic nic fare the rest of the day.
Turn off the air conditioning and roll down the window for at least a few miles. Take in the smells as well as the sights.
If this becomes an overnight adventure stay the night in an old mom and pop establishment or camp at a KOA. In either case your anecdote bank will be full when you return.
Bring a camera so you can prove to yourself and others that what you saw was real. Photos will also help overcome those moments filled with complexity that threaten your new found quest for simplicity.
If possible bring a friend to share the memories. If you don’t have friends then make rectifying that a goal before the next adventure and in the mean time make new friends on the road.
Step far from your comfort zone. Order foods you have never tried, talk to folks you normally avoid, and seek out the kitchy sites often avoided.
Last, but not least, leave the watch at home, turn off the cell phone, and slow the pace. Sit on the hood of the car and watch the cars go buy, turn off the car and listen to the sounds of a desert night, stretch out on the hood and stare into the star lit sky, and take the time to walk shaded paths.
Dependant on how deeply your immersion into complexity is, it may take a trip or to before you get the hang of it. Don’t despair, just keep trying until you realize that you are having fun without meaning to, until you find yourself wearing a silly grin more often than you wear a pained grimace, and until you understand the meaning of songs like Get Your Kicks on Route 66.