By Dom Cioffi
When I was in college, I took an art course that had me sketching and painting on a weekly basis. I loved the act of creating in this way and took joy in most of the assignments.
On one occasion, the instructor asked the class to paint a picture of something we wished to own. I immediately knew what my subject was going to be.
Since the day I started driving, I had pined for the Porsche 911 Turbo. In my mind, that was the car I had to own. With its sleek lines and low contour, the 911 bled cool. I, of course, had never driven a Porsche. In fact, I’d never even seen one up close, but I was convinced if the day came where I could afford one, it would be mine.
I had a couple stipulations: It had to have a spoiler on the back (which, to me, gave it the balance of a perfectly designed automobile) and it had to be bright red with a black interior.
I painted the picture of my Porsche traveling down a road towards a mountain range at sunset. The car was bright red but everything else was muted earth tones tinted by the golden glow of the setting sun. The only thing that stood out was the license plate on the back, which simply read, “NIRVANA.”
Now, keep in mind, this was 1987, long before the band Nirvana had appeared on the cultural landscape. Nirvana meant something very different to folks back then; it was more of nod to a place of perfection (which is why I had it adorning my dream car’s license plate).
I received an “A” for the assignment and had it entered in a student art show on campus. The painting then traveled with me from apartment to apartment until sometime in the early 1990s when someone asked if I was a fan of the band Nirvana. Realizing that my vision had been tainted (no offense to Nirvana), I rolled up the picture and slid it in a cardboard tube for storing.
I have transported that painting to every location I have ever lived over the last 35 years and to this day, it’s still rolled up inside that cardboard tube.
Over time, I also lost interest in owning a Porsche, mostly because the price tag was never going to be in my ballpark. But then, several years ago, a coworker I knew bought my dream car. Granted it was black and didn’t have a spoiler, but it was a legit 911 Turbo.
One day, when the opportunity presented itself, I asked my coworker if I could take his Porsche for a drive, explaining that it had always been my dream car. He agreed, tossed me the keys, and off I went.
Initially, I was giddy with excitement. Afterall, a dream was finally coming to fruition; I was fulfilling a long-held life aspiration. However, my happiness was cut short when I realized that 911s aren’t exactly built for tall people. And my larger-than-normal feet didn’t respond well to the tiny pedals.
Overall, I felt cramped and uncomfortable.
In fairness, the stick transmission did drive beautifully, and I quite enjoyed ripping around the mountain roads I was on. Porsches are certainly well-crafted machines with high-performance engines.
But I knew once I climbed out of that car (which was hard as hell because it only sits a few inches off the ground) that it no longer represented the apex of automobiles for me.
My painting of the Porsche and the story of finally driving one slid back into my consciousness recently when my son pointed out a McLaren 720s while we were in traffic. He nearly jumped out of my truck when he saw it and then proceeded to tell me every detail he could remember about why it was the car he had to own.
I, of course, launched into a speech about getting a college degree and writing your own ticket with a profitable career path (given that the McLaren 720s costs around $300K), but I’m not sure he listened.
This week’s film, “Ticket to Paradise” starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney is also about a child who doesn’t listen, except in this case, the child is intent on getting married.
There’s not a lot of narrative substance here, but the film still finds a way to be fun and engaging, mostly due to the chemistry of the two main stars, who actually do feel like the married couple we all want to go on vacation with. Check this one out if you’re looking for an entertaining distraction that is set in a tropical scene. It won’t be winning any awards, but it will keep you smiling.
A sunny C+ for “Ticket to Paradise,” now playing in theaters everywhere.
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at email@example.com.