The Contagion of Everyday Life

A pandemic is never only about biological contagion. Much of what we feel, think, and do—far more than I want to admit—is the product of what we perceive or unconsciously mimic in the world around us. Laughter, yawns, ideas, courage, and panic. All of that is contagion.

Little Car, Big Impact

In the middle of her life, fortunes falling, my mother bought a little car with the beauty of a well-made toy. It was economical, utilitarian, self-effacing, and anti-macho—all the things she needed or wanted at that point.

Long Red Monte Carlo

A lot of people love the feel and freedom of driving—certainly our culture celebrates those things—but those were outweighed for me by other factors, chief among them the astounding ease with which I can get lost.

Beetles for Sale

In the last thirty years when the majority of the world moved on from the little car, the dying Bug found a new life in Latin America. Mexicans embraced the car and in turn the Beetle not only found a new home, but also a new sense of identity.

On Cars as Art

When Italian car-maker Enzo Ferrari declared the the 1961 British Jaguar E-type sports car the most beautiful car ever made, it was a rare instance of a functional design object coming to be seen as a work of art. Thirty-five years later, Ferrari’s assessment was vindicated when the original Jaguar E-type was put on display in the Museum of Modern Art.