Category Archives: Cars
Years and years ago I read GK Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. There was one bit in there that’s stuck with me since. I find that Chesterton tries a little too hard with language, but that does not remove the quality of some of the ideas that his thoughts can generate:
The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross, obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not also epical when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station? Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere, to Baker Street or to Bagdad. But man is a magician, and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria, and lo! it is Victoria. (…) “I tell you,” went on Syme with passion, “that every time a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos. You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria. I say that one might do a thousand things instead, and that whenever I really come there I have the sense of hairbreadth escape. And when I hear the guard shout out the word ‘Victoria,’ it is not an unmeaning word. It is to me the cry of a herald announcing conquest. It is to me indeed ‘Victoria’; it is the victory of Adam.”
G.K. Chesterton, “The Man Who Was Thursday”
Sometimes it’s a hand brake between the passenger seats, sometimes it’s a pedal up high to the left of the brake pedal. Very few people use it. How do I know? When you see a car, parking on an incline, turn its engine off and then you see it bounce back and forth a few centimetres they did not use the parking brake. When a person turns the ignition key in their car and all the lights come on immediately, they’re not using their parking brake. I see that crap all the time.
Some may argue some of these points, but so be it. I’ve enough of an understanding to make me comfortable in expressing the following. This is in no specific order.
Stopped at a red light, the person beside me has their head haunched at a specific angle, looking somewhere between their steering wheel and their knee. All of the other cars depart, they remain. The driver behind this vehicle gives a little honk in the hopes of nudging them out of their daydream. Now no longer captivated by the glow of their fancy phone, the driver looks into their rear view mirror. They do not like being told what to do. In my rear view they are clearly giving the middle finger to the car behind them. They remain stopped defiantly. Forty cars lined up behind have drivers performing a synchronized facepalm.
Many people’s stress levels stem from their commute to work. Whether it’s by public transit, car or awesome helicopter. Each offers challenges, frustrations, irritations and dangers.
It is interesting to note, however, the difference in behaviour between people and people in cars. The change is incredible. What one person does when driving one seldom sees when people perambulate in their bipedal form.
Global warming. I mean, climate change. Wait, has the term been changed again? So many policies, so little time.
The world is reportedly changing. Only a handful of people (when considering the population of the planet) have been measuring the water levels of tides, the temperatures, the behaviour of migratory animals, the health of animal populations and other indicators of portentous changes. In short, we’ve to take their word for it (you know, this article may not lead to where you might think).
When driving around, I often notice things that make me cringe. Like bright orange Kias. Or a lowered Honda S2000 with aftermarket exhaust and crooked rear wing. Or a Porsche with an automatic transmission. Or… ok.
Then there are things that make me wince. One of those things is the topic of this post – people sitting too close to their steering wheel.