Brian's Corner

Pardon Me…Would you happen to have any Grey Poupon?

Do you remember that 80’s-era commercial? I loved it. One rich passenger (the rich baron) in the back seat of his Rolls Royce is preparing a sandwich while his chauffeur merrily drives the back country roads. Another Rolls approaches and they meet at the stop sign. The passenger in the back seat politely asks, “Pardon me, would you happen to have any Grey Poupon?”

As you recall, the response was “certainly.” The mustard was exchanged, and the driver of the second car, Alfred, drove off … with the precious cargo—a jar of Grey Poupon.  A chase soon ensued.

Imagine preparing a sandwich in the back seat of your car? Perhaps that was hard to swallow in the 1980s. Today, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone making a sandwich in the front seat of their car while driving.

I am astonished at what’s taking place in cars nowadays—much more than driving. On my way into work the other day, I noticed the SUV in front of me weaving in and out of the lane. After observing for a few moments, I decided to quickly pass to avoid an accident. We both soon stopped at a traffic light. As I looked over I noticed the driver was holding her phone in one hand, and texting with the other. In her lap was an unrestrained dog, propped up against the steering wheel. In amazement I looked on as she sped away.

Although I don’t prepare meals or chaperone dogs behind the wheel, I do enjoy drives. I remember the sense of freedom I had in high school when I received my driver’s license. Having the ability to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted was truly liberating. I enjoyed discovering new places as I journeyed back roads. There was something special about discovering new places and learning new routes to old familiar places. There was also a feeling of exhilaration from driving with all of the windows down—the air moving rapidly through the car, messing up my hair and delivering a sense of amusement and unapologetic youth. I’ve always loved adventurous drives, especially after the long winter months.

Well, my hair has long gone bye-bye and the Cleveland streets today are filled with snow and salt.  My driving is now less about discovery and more about commuting. Journeys through back roads have been replaced with journeys avoiding potholes—and drivers on cell phones chauffeuring their pets to doggy day care.

Whatever it is that brings you the sense of exhilaration and freedom, I hope you find it or rediscover it, and enjoy every moment of it in the days ahead. With springtime approaching (according to Punxsutawney Phil) and cheap gas prices, I’m looking forward to many new journeys. Perhaps we can meet along the roadside and exchange some delicious Grey Poupon as well.