When I began working for my current employer almost ten years ago (that milestone will occur in April), I was assigned to a cubicle next to a colleague with whom I became personal friends in short order. Sometimes, you just click with someone, and it probably didn’t hurt that Tom reminded me a little bit of my cousin, but it was great to feel like I had an ally so early on in what has now shaped up to be long tenure with my company. Neither friends nor longevity are guaranteed in any work environment, but it really does help to like where you work and the people around you. I don’t think of the insurance industry as being particularly cut-throat, at least not where I’m on the payroll, and mine has been a great, twenty-plus year career so far.
Those of us in our general area with adjacent cubes would exchange greetings in the morning, back in the days when most of us were present in the office most of the time, and before working from home became the norm. Tom would ask me how I was doing, and I’m sure I would say I was “fine”, even when I was feeling less than enthusiastic. When I would return the question, Tom would sometimes respond that he was, “Just living the dream.” It wasn’t just his words, but also the flat tone in which he delivered them that almost caused me to “spit” hot coffee out of my nostrils on several occasions. We were all living the insurance dream, through overheard telephone conversations, fast and furious typing, and creative ways of using the English language among ourselves to express our frustrations.
Eastern Iowa Airport.
My version of this insurance dream has included business travel to territories in which many of my external clients are located and do business, themselves. I’ve written before here at Curbside about some of these trips, how I usually make it my practice to bring my camera along with me, and the importance of finding ways to make them enjoyable while away from the comforts of my familiar environments. It was on one such trek to Iowa that I spotted our featured car.
Let me set the tone for how this unfolded back in October of 2015, just one day after I had photographed a 1967 Ford Thunderbird I have previously written about. I had just deboarded a flight that was not even an hour long, from Chicago to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The length of time I had spent taking public transportation from my home to the airport was significantly longer than the amount of time the plane was in the air. I had my one cup of high-octane Starbucks something-or-other pumping through my veins when I met the marketing guy at arrivals, and we left short-term parking at the airport to head to our first appointment.
We had been on the road for not even ten minutes when a silver something caught my eye on an expressway exit ramp. Could that be…? No way. It’s morning rush hour on a Monday. In Iowa. Some dude isn’t just casually driving his DeLorean DMC-12 to work like it’s “Back To The Future Day” at the office. I don’t know about that last thing, but this car was definitely instantly recognizable as a DeLorean. My colleague in marketing is probably, by now, very used to my taking pictures on the fly, as he and I have worked together basically since my tenure with the company started.
I wasn’t going to ask him to pull into a gas station or something so I could get a few more shots of this car, as punctuality is important and I wasn’t there to take pictures of cars, but to discuss business and build relationships with clients. I did manage to get one shot of this DMC-12 with its slick, stainless steel body shimmering in the morning light, looking almost as futuristic to me in 2015 as it did when I was a youngster drooling over its Giugiaro-penned, angular, gull-winged, fastback shape.
I don’t have anything of substance to say about the car itself, which has previously been covered at Curbside, with just a couple of those links included below. Suffice it to say that the DeLorean (what percentage of people you know would refer to it by its proper model name, the DMC-12?) was a gorgeous piece of automotive sculpture that wasn’t particularly fast and had a troubled genesis and a sad ending, but remains an easily recognizable cultural icon in the United States, outside of car fandom, owing much to the popularity of the Back To The Future movie franchise.
“Live The Dream” was the tagline used in the featured, period print advertisements for the DeLorean DMC-12, which was perfect, given that I spotted this car during travel for business, where that phrase is still tossed around from time to time. Here in 2021, it appears that what was “the future” way back when I started with my current employer is now here, as I stand on the precipice of a full decade of service. In a job climate that has been rocked by the pandemic, I recognize that I am truly living the dream.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Monday, October 26, 2015.