An acquaintance enjoys detailing clay on his BMW. Detailing clay is a resin compound that removes contaminants from paintwork. He can spend an entire day preening his car – a large, metallic object – so it looks unspoiled.
Initially I couldn’t think of anything as uninspiring. It seemed a fool’s paradise; to waste time on something so materialistic. But I was missing the point. So what if he’s obsessed with his car – he’s happy while doing it.
My realisation came when I was putting together yet another compilation. On the outside my obsession seemed useless, but for me it was a stolen moment of serenity. We all have our detailing clay fixations; things we do that mean so much to our wellbeing but look stupid to others.
The problem is we tend to vindicate our choices while judging others. Making compilations is wholesome, claying cars is vain. That’s why when I saw pictures of this acquaintance hunched over his BMW, I became sardonic. I didn’t realise what he was doing was the exact same thing as me just in a different format. It’s only after I thought of him looking at pictures of me sitting hunched over I-tunes on my laptop that the penny dropped – I was him.
Happiness and quietude are the goals here – a place to meditate. If you can find calm from the mad rush of the world and you enjoy doing it, then that’s your thing. Placing weight on good or bad only hastens to muddy the waters.