Despite how often people ask me why I decided to paint my car, I don’t know if I ever thought about it enough to come up with a stock answer. But really, I think the best explanation is that it’s a whole lot happier than gray, which is what it was when I had it. It started with Chris’ Trogdor spraypainted on the hood. It’s still a favorite, but has been gone a while now. My car then evolved into a mess of spraypaint, stencils, signatures, and child-made graffiti. It makes people happy. I’ve never had anyone randomly honk, wave, and smile just because when I was driving in a vehicle for work (standard white car or van) or Nate’s car (a blue Oldsmobile) because those cars, despite their perfect (or mostly perfect) functionality, just don’t make people happy when they see them. They’re just cars. But my car makes people happy.
Over the years, I have received a small collection of notes on my car. There was one with a big smiley face that said “Thank you for your car!” and others that said exactly what I said, that my car made someone happy or made their day. The most recent was a quote on periwinkle paper, found when I came out of the movie theater at the Westshore mall:
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~Michelangelo
It made me want to cry. I smiled instead. My car makes people happy. And those people in turn make me very happy. It’s the least I could do with the hunk of metal that has served me so well and that half of Tampa (and some people SO much more than others) has helped push start at some point or another.