Scallywag

In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.

~ Dalai Lama ~

Cars I Hate And Love

June 22nd, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 3 mins, 27 secs

Cars can drive you up the wall.

Cars can drive you up the wall.

Hands up if you love cars! I do, but then I don’t as I admit to having a love/hate relationship with the infernal things.

On one hand, there is a lot to like about cars. They can:

  • Look good enough to be a fashion accessory (though they are incredibly hard to match with your handbag)
  • Get you from here to right over there and back before you can say “Jack Robinson” (so long as it takes you 3 hours to say it)
  • Give people a sense of freedom (that reaches all the way to the speed limit)
  • Provide endless entertainment (the right one can be so much fun, you won’t even need to start it)
  • Allow you to have more work, domestic, and recreational choices (like traffic jam activities, playing “race the lights”, and trying to continue your entire life via the screen of your smartphone)
  • Let you express yourself with fluffy dice and cutesy plush toy animals on the back shelf.

Yet, there is also plenty about cars to drive you crazy. Consider:

  • How much of your life will be sacrificed on the traffic jam shrine, listening to songs you prayed would never get airplay.
  • The shocking cost of car parts, servicing, and inevitable repairs (did you really mean to commit your finances to mufflers, CV joints, and gaskets when you first got your license?)
  • When your car won’t start or breaks down. This usually appears to be a sign that you should have bought that better model and, somehow, it’s all your fault
  • That the road rage others wage against you wreaks merry havoc with your continence
  • That cars are dirty, smelly machines that foul the air, generate oily grease stains and, in the end, leave a complete mess (much like your uncle Herb).
  • That these diabolically expensive devices keep us all in hock paying them off, buying new thingamajigs, and proving through bills that you don’t earn anything near as much as you think you need
  • You have to wash and clean the ruddy things. This means getting intimate with chewing gum, spilt milk (Who keeps drinking glasses of milk in cars?), macerated crackers, scrounged wrappers, and grime on the inside. While, outside you’re sentenced to sloshing suds over paintwork, glass, and mostly yourself over and over again for the term of your vehicles finite life.
  • Your car guarantees that you are going to meet new people, like police officers, parking inspectors, people who get their jollies hurling shopping trolleys, and other motorists who insist on swapping post accident insurance details with you.

Through all of this, it’s clear cars are a statement. We all know that. In my case, mine says, “I can’t believe this car is still registered”, meaning the only people it impresses are all archaeologists.

If we had good public transport, I’d hop onto a bus, tram, train, or zeppelin and make a point of heading off that way daily. But, seeing as our public transport more accurately resembles a tired Clydesdale horse trawling a worn out red wagon (which I did offer to fix, mind you), a car it is.

Personally, I can’t wait until we get cars that are all electric. You know, the ones that come with a pop up toaster on the dash, a giant remote controlled LCD display (complete with cable channels), and talk-to-me electronic control. This will allow us to tell our self-drive vehicle to play Happy Days reruns whilst we chat with the computer’s idrive-you-up-the-wall management system.

Car: “You sure you want to go there?”

You: “Yes”

Car: “But why don’t we go somewhere else for a change.”

You: “No I’m late for work as it is. Please hurry”.

Car: “All right already. No need to get grumpy. Say, how about we take the scenic route?”

You: “I don’t want the scenic route. Look, will you just be quiet and drive?”

Car: “Okay, no need to take that tone. Cars have feelings too, you know” 

And so on…

But for now, we are stuck with cars as they are, designed to fall apart inside 7 years (thank General Motors for training the whole auto industry to ape that little trick). Running on expensive, malodorous fuel that happens to contribute to overheating the planet, they make Fred Flintstone’s car seem a far better answer (except of course for the resulting effects of painfully cracked heels).

Do I love cars? Well, as much as you can appreciate the cleverness of a nonliving object. Do I despise these wretchedly expensive and dangerous metal monsters? Yes, definitely. But, they are what they are: an undeniably useful tool.

I’d like to turn on the dashboard fan and demystify things, but for now cars essentially remain what they are: highly sophisticated contrivances thought up by men back in the 19th Century. Which has got me thinking. Maybe I might just stock up on sugar cubes and check out the local Clydesdale after all.

Happy Wheels In Your Driveway

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