“Yes. You read that correctly. I’m a geeky-ass, hoity-toity motherfucker, and I drive the most obnoxiously meatheaded car currently on the road.”
Hello. My name is Damon Young, and I’m a published author, professional editor, freelance writer, and award-winning blogger. This basically means that I spend two to seven hours each weekday in various Pittsburgh-area coffee shops; writing, sending emails, stressing over things like ”search engine optimization” and “extensible markup language,” trying to “get” Tumblr (I still haven’t), and wondering why (some) white people seem so infatuated with cottage cheese. If you can find Big Boi and Killer Mike in the “A” and on that Kryptonite, you can find me in the “Bakery Square Coffee Tree” and on that… expensive looking faux-oak chair that just might be giving me hemorrhoids.
I’m also an introvert, largely sedentary, completely bespectacled, and I officially have more (and better) conversations with the people living inside of my laptop than, well, real people.
Basically, I’m a full-grown, professional nerd.
Ah. You need more proof of this nerdiness? Ok. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite things to do when not “working”:
Read old movie reviews (I’m partial to Roger Ebert and Slate.com’s Dana Stevens). Drink milkshakes while simultaneously thumbing my nose to my increasingly violent lactose intolerance. Be violently lactose intolerant. Have staring contests with my (equally nerdy) girlfriend’s cat. Search YouTube for instances of especially colorful cumulonimbuses. Use words like “cumulonimbuses” in sentences. Regularly create and record (in my phone) top 10 lists about things that don’t deserve to be listed, recorded, or remembered. (My latest top 10? “Top 10 Ways To Piss Off a Squirrel”) Have arguments with friends at 1 a.m. over the proper use of “pioneer.” Play scrabble…by myself…while sitting on the toilet.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m slightly bougie too? No? OK. Well, I’m slightly bougie too. I attend brunches where pheasant omelets and grapefruit mimosas are served. I intentionally date women even bougier than I am just so I don’t feel too bad about being black and (slightly) bougie. I’ve even postponed sex to attend a wine tasting. Twice.
But, I imagine that none of this—the nerdiness, the bougieness, the disturbing bathroom habits—matter to the poor schmoe who almost had his, I don’t know, Honda Civic(?) run off the highway by my Dodge Charger last week.
Yes. You read that correctly. I’m a geeky-ass, hoity-toity motherfucker, and I drive the most obnoxiously meatheaded car currently on the road.
It’s a 2011 Charger too, which means:
A) I bought it this year, an act which basically screams “Fuck yo couch” to any and every thing green.
B) I drive a car even more obnoxious than the pre-2011 Dodge Charger. It’s like the Dodge people looked at the 2010 version and said to themselves, “You know what? This car isn’t douchey enough. Let’s give it an ass bigger than circa-Selena J-Lo and a grill with an Austin Powers overbite.” Seriously, I’m surprised they didn’t go all the way and just change the name of the company to Dodge, Bitch!
If cars were celebrities, while the Jaguar would be Micheal Caine (sleek and elegant with a tinge of world-weary haughtiness) and the Prius would be Al Gore (pretentious and bloated but ultimately well-intentioned), the Charger would definitely be Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (obnoxious, oblivious, and a probable carrier of myriad STDs).
What makes the Charger even more objectionable is the fact that it’s not really all that special. If it zips past you fast enough, you could very easily think to yourself, “Wow. Someone sure is driving that Mitsubishi Galant really fast. They should be careful before it explodes.” It definitely doesn’t give you the automatic social climber status that an Audi or a Range Rover might. And while the engine is, well, damn, the acceleration doesn’t really do you much good when making the five block drive from your townhouse to Trader Joe’s.
The car has even managed to turn me into a (slight) douchebag. Let me put it this way: I’m so much of a “real” hip-hop nerd, er, purist that my laptop houses separate folders for Wu-Tang tracks produced by 4th Disciple, Tru Master, or Allah Mathematics, each listed in reverse chronological order. But, immediately after buying this car, something called a “Rick Ross” suddenly and loudly took over my stereo and sensibilities. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve rolled up to a wine tasting at the Dance Alloy Theater while blasting the chorus to “Tupac Back.”
Yet, while the rest of the educated world seems hell bent on becoming as ambiguous, androgynous, and asexual as possible—a state of mind perfectly embodied by the embarrassingly self-conscious hybrid Cadillac Escalade—the Charger’s comfort in its own skin is refreshing and surprisingly endearing. (This fact actually, and eerily, extends the Mike “The Situation” analogy even further. Not exactly sure what that means, and not sure I want to find out.) It wants nothing other than to be the biggest, heaviest, ugliest, and fastest four-door sedan on the road, and this self-assuredness has proved to be contagious.
The most difficult part about my recent transition from educator to full-time writer has been overcoming the angst I’m prone to exhibit when asked what I do for a living. For months I either outright lied or felt a pressing need to explain myself. (“I’m a writer. No, seriously. I have a book. I’ve been published. I’ve been on NPR and shit. Look it up. Please believe me!”) Part of this was due to me anticipating skepticism, but mainly I was just scared to admit it to myself. No more pussyfooting around with writing as a “hobby,” and no more reliance on the “Can’t fail if you don’t try” psychological safety net that comes with not pursuing your passion.
I’ve since overcome this fear. I now own my occupation, I’ve fully eschewed the W-2 for the W-9, and I don’t hesitate to drop my Professional Writer business cards in the “win a free lunch” bowl at Pizza Sola. And, while I wouldn’t cite the Charger as the reason for this change, I wouldn’t dismiss it as coincidence either. Maybe I’ve become more confident by osmosis. Maybe it has hidden transformative powers. Maybe I’m slowly morphing into Big Meech or Larry Hoover. Maybe I actually sold my soul to the devil when signing the final bank loan papers. (This isn’t impossible, btw. Seriously, I have no fucking idea what I signed away that day) Who knows?
I do know, though, that if a 2011 Dodge Charger is behind you while you happen to be in the Pittsburgh area, you better move the hell out of the way. A writer might be driving, and he’ll run you off the road if you make him late for the gallery crawl.