- I wrote this in October of 2018, after an evening at Alan Londe's home. I had known Alan since U. City high school days. Last Sunday, April 24, on what would have been Alan's 87th birthday, I attended a Celebration of His Life, roughly one month after he had died. From COVID. Alan was one of a kind, an extremely gifted physician and generous human. He loved being with friends and acquaintances, of which this story is an example.
PASTA, WINE, AND A LAMBO
A friend named Alan recently invited me to his home for an evening of “hanging out with the guys.” These were friends of his whose wives were enjoying a “Girls Night Out.” Sounded like a proper thing to do, even though “girls” seems like a risky term these days.
“You don’t know these guys,” said Alan, “but you’ll fit right in. We’ll sit around the pool, have some wine, and some pasta dishes I made for dinner.” I accepted. I had nothing else going and I liked the idea of pool, wine and pasta. He asked everyone to bring a bottle of red. Alan's rather particular about having the right wine to go with one of his meals. It's an admirable trait, one that is foreign to me since I'm not into wines. Give me a Tito's vodka or a Knob Creek bourbon and I'm happy.
That evening I was the last one there, having stopped at Total Wine for a bottle of medium-priced rose’, a good choice for summer drinking, so I’ve been told. Besides, red wine gives me a migraine. From the moment I pulled into his driveway in my 2013 Hyundai Elantra, I knew I had no business being there. It’s that “car thing,” a big deal with guys that closely ties the size of their net worth to their car. Mine is clearly reflected by my shiny red Hyundai.
I parked behind a 2018 white Mercedes convertible. It’s the model that grabs my attention when it passes me on the road. The Mercedes was behind a sleek new Infiniti SUV. Which was behind a new Lexus sedan and a sporty BMW or an Audi - I confuse the two. Sitting by itself, away from everyone else so it wouldn’t get scratched, was a white Lamborghini. This is a show stopper. These beauties start at $200,000 and rapidly escalate from there.
I could own at least twenty Elantra’s for the price of one Lamborghini. Why, I wondered, would someone pay that much for a car to drive in a state where the maximum speed limit is 70 mph? The answer, of course, is because they can.
As we sat around the pool - actually, next to it, on a patio; no one went swimming - a big, entertaining guy named named Bob asked a perfectly sun-tanned guy with a full head of beautifully-styled white hair a question I’ve never heard before. “Steve, how do you like your Lambo?”
Lambo! At first I wasn’t sure what a Lambo was. I started to laugh but realized it was a serious question. About what, I had no idea. “What’s not to like in a “Lambo?”, I almost said, always tempted to go for the cheap laugh. Steve casually said, “It’s a lot of fun.” Two or three hundred thousand dollars worth of fun on four wheels??? I don’t know what passes for fun in a Lambo but it sure isn’t going to Home Depot for a can of Rust-Oleum.
And so the night progressed. The group was easy to be with. Lots of laughs, a relaxing banter, jokes both good and bad, golf stories. And I felt included - except for the golf. Never touch the stuff. After a delicious dinner of four different pastas prepared by Alan and a salad and a little more banter and wine, I was the first to say goodnight. I didn’t want them to see that pitiful little car I was driving. It didn’t work. They all decided it was time to leave. So there I was, trapped in the driveway while they climbed into their chariots and began to pull out.
Look, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to spend a pile on a vehicle. If I had the money, I’d probably go for something that gets people to stare with envy and, as Mose Allison sings it, “makes little girls talk out of their heads.” The language of cars belongs to guys. I never heard women talk about their “Caddy” or a “Jag” or especially a Lambo. Of course that may change with the changing times. Along with “girls night out.”
One thing I regret - not asking Steve if he’d take me for a ride. Even to Home Depot. It’s probably as close to riding in a Lambo I’ll ever get.
(NOTE: After this article ran in the Fall 2018 issue of County Living Magazine, I received an email from Steve. He offered to take me for a ride. To Costco. Fine by me. I like Costco better than Home Depot anyway.)
(FINAL NOTE: Steve never followed up on this. I never got to ride in his Lambo. Doesn't matter, though. I had spent a delightful evening with my friend Alan, and his - at the time - lady friend, Sandy. They were married a couple of years later. This approximates a happy ending to the story.)