Obsession, Thy Name is Porsche
Credit: Photograph by Peter Yang
Two months later, still nothing had turned up, and I was on the phone with a seller named Ed, from Florida, asking him why he was selling his car. I really enjoy asking people that, hearing their stories. It gives me a chance to sympathize and soften them up. One old guy said he'd just bought his 912E and hadn't known it would be nearly impossible to drive a five-speed with a wooden leg. But most of them were economic hard-luck stories, like Ed's. "Tough times," he said. "I got hit with some real high alimony, so I got to sell my assets, because I got to look like I'm broke. Divorce is brutal, man. She's even put my kids against me."

"I hear you, man," I said. "Been there myself. Tough times."

"What's that? Yeah, okay, well let me tell you about my Porsche," he said. "My Porsche is an original mint car. The two front seats were re-covered with genu-wine leather."

"Nice," I said.

"All the necessary upgrades have been done – and I have all the receipts."

I leaned back. "Oh, wow. Really? That's fantastic."

"It's got the original paint, except some fucker got me in the parking lot at the movies, and some spiteful bitch keyed the left quarter panel. It really is a sweet car, though. And, hey, those front seats, they cost me $1,550 to redo."

"Man, it just sounds terrific," I said.

I left the office and found my girlfriend sitting on the couch, her head tilted, looking at me. "You know what I'm really getting sick of?" she said. "It's you flirting with all these sellers. All your phony 'terrific's and 'wow's and 'fantastic's. Seriously. It's like you're trying to pick up a girl at a bar."

"Now, listen – "

She blew some hair out of her face. I could tell that some big-picture statements were on their way, and I girded for their arrival.

"OK, so you've worked really hard to put a kid through college and lost a lot of money in the crash and left maybe $1 million on the table dumping that apartment in Manhattan because you thought New York was going to descend into chaos during that stupid Y2K problem thing. I get it. You think you deserve it. But from the yoga perspective, this attachment to objects is totally crazy."

"Now, listen – "

"It causes suffering. It's one of the world's biggest imbalances. For months you've been searching, and so far the end result has been nothing. Honestly, I feel like there's so much more you could be doing with your time."

I stamped my foot impatiently. "Hey, would you listen to me for a sec? I think I just found the car. In Florida. Come on, see it. It's up on the screen. The seller got screwed by his ex so he's got to dump it. Right this way."

I left. She didn't follow. I knew she wouldn't. I sat down at my desk. I wasn't interested in that white car, being keyed by a spiteful bitch and all. But I felt like I had to say something.

A few minutes later, she poked her head in. "Honey, can you please give it a rest?"

I guess I could but I knew I wouldn't, so I didn't, but I told her I would try. And that's when I really started to go off the deep end.