At the beginning of every dawn, the sun and the freedom to choose rise alongside each other – intermingling themselves together to create an intoxicating concoction of possibilities. Each day brings with itself the prospect of the unknown. However, these unknown prospects often disguise themselves in the form of the insignificant actions that are easily dismissed for their simplicity, only to have an unconscious – but significant – influence on our perceptions of reality. Our minds are designed to prioritize the urgency of certain functions over others. This ability to focus on the priorities that matter the most is what makes it possible to execute our objectives, while dismissing the information that is not conducive to the accomplishment of our aims. While this may be an ability to treasure in fight or flight response situations, it does leave one to wonder: what happens to everything that we unconsciously see?
In recent years, I have established a relationship with the roads that link my home to the university that I now call my companion. This relationship has become the host to all the mundane commutes that have left me questioning the decisions that have culminated in the current state of my life. I suffer from that automated behavior which leads people to go about their existences without questioning the significance of their actions. Recognizing this behavior in other people is all thanks to the choice of roads that make my commutes to the university possible. On these roads, I have an opportunity to observe what people do in their cars. Opportunities like this give me time to see women and men singing along to their favorite songs, people adjusting their makeup in their rear-view mirrors and arguments between spouses. In the grand scheme of things, these are line items in the days of individuals with more pressing responsibilities. However, enough line items in a period of twenty-four hours can accumulate into a list of activities so innumerable that an attempt to dismiss them would not only be foolish, but impossible.
The nature of concentrating on a finite number of functions means that our brains absorb more information than we consciously use. This results in an unconscious awareness of information that is triggered into use by any random set of innocuous activities. This behavior has played a role in my life – a role I recently became aware of. Over the past two years, I have been somewhat ambivalent about the array of cars that I see daily. On some days, I am privileged to observe as Aston-Martins roar into the distance, while most days provide me with the mundane sedan and the equally boring hatchback. However, there are certain vehicles so subtle in their charm that while they may lie within your line of sight, they can be equally dismissed because of the discerning nature of the people whose attention they have been designed to capture. The route that I have been using to return home from university includes passing by the more affluent areas that surround where I study. This has resulted in my fondness with a handful of roads, along which I know some tasteful vehicles will always be parked. In this two-year period however, one car has always existed within my line of sight, and I kept being dismissive towards it until one day, I found it parked alone – isolated from the exotic cars that typically capture my attention. The car in question was an Alfa-Romeo Brera, and the innocuous activity of being driven past it for two years has inscribed it into the back of my mind.
I sometimes wonder if the Alfa-Romeo Brera is too subtle – capturing the eye of anyone with a penchant for aesthetics, while not being as ostentatious as a Lamborghini. As a successor to the Alfa-Romeo GTV – a vehicle that once won an award declaring it the most beautiful car in the world – the Alfa-Romeo Brera serves its predecessor proud. It is a car that demands an attentive eye – the details of its design only unraveling themselves to anyone willing to take the time to understand its peculiarities. It has taken two years for me to unconsciously rationalize those peculiarities. Perhaps my dismissal of this vehicle has been attributed to the fact that unlike more exotic vehicles that attract attention by mere virtue of their rarity, the Alfa-Romeo Brera demands its respect without placing an imposition on anyone. This is an attitude that is not dissimilar to the individual who demands their respect while standing from across the room – being humble in their approach without being timid or being assertive enough not to be misconstrued for being aggressive.
“I sometimes wonder if the Alfa-Romeo Brera is too subtle – capturing the eye of anyone with a penchant for aesthetics, while not being as ostentatious as a Lamborghini.”
The dismissal of dreams for the sake of a daily existence is also a choice, irrespective of the alibis that we create to rationalize our foolish decisions. I remember reading something to the effect that “life is what happens while we are still busy making plans,” but I think that opinion undermines the power of the human brain to execute any ambition that it deems worthy of turning into a reality. I continue to be steadfast in my belief that LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. Dreams should not be dismissed; their value is too infinite for them to be taken for granted. Dreams are the only saving grace that exists in this world – they make it possible for us to picture a world without limitations. These mental pictures are what characterizes the canvas of our visions, which also finds its influence from the information that rests in our subconscious minds – waiting for any innocuous activity to trigger it into action. I found my trigger in the form of an Alfa-Romeo Brera – parked along a sidewalk, waiting for someone to notice it.