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the beauty of a car

It’s easy to wax lyrical about cars. What they look like. How fast they might go. How perfect the engine purrs.

The real beauty of a car though – any car – lies in it’s innate ability to grant freedom. And there’s nothing like your car being broken down for four whole days to make you appreciate it.

Because you forget.  If you’re a regular driver with your own four wheels.  You forget all the beautiful things about having your own motor.

You forget how lucky you are not to have to carry everything you might need for that day on your back.  You forget how exposed you are to the elements without your own little curved roof. You forget how you need to remember sun cream and a rain coat and an extra warm top. How dependent you are on the time and information from outside sources. The need to remember water and something to eat, £2 for your bus tickets and a curly wurly to top up your energy levels before the final leg home (walking). How you need to have cash (otherwise you will have to walk to the cash point before you walk to your chosen method of public transport). How tired your feet get. How dirty your feet get. How reliant you can be on your tired dirty feet.

You forget how inconvenient it is when you can’t charge the mobile via the cigarette lighter and how important it is to know the time. Why you need a watch. How it feels to be totally reliant on other people and hard to find timetables. How shit it feels to realise you’ve missed your final chance for a lift home just before the heavens open. How wet the rain can be.  How it soaks you to the skin. How hot the sun is when there’s no shade and how much the body can sweat in five minutes of standing, doing nothing – just waiting – with no shadows to hide in.

You forget how noisy buses are. How impossible it is to have a conversation with someone on your mobile whilst sat on one. The fact that they pump the hottest air onto your legs particularly in summer. You forget how nice it is not to have to share your seat. How you have to be nicer. You know, to other people. You forget how you might not always have your own little bubble of space, with just your own music, your own smells and your own germs for company. You forget how it feels when you’re not the most powerful thing on the road.

Your own car is a good place to be. You can go where you want, see who you want, do what you want, and chose to do any of that whenever the hell you want.

Empowering creatures, these automobiles(!).  Sure it’s nice to be driven sometimes: it gives you the chance to slow down; people watch; absorb the view; eat a curlywurly on the way to wherever you are going and pretend like you’re fourteen again.

Give me the choice though and I’d pick the freedom of my own car any day.

(ps. The bus from Letchworth to Buntingford only goes every two hours. I’m slightly ashamed that I only discovered this on the morning of Monday 28th May 2012: a ground breaking day during which – due to some rather serious operations on my little mint imperial Corsa -I also used a Hertfordshire bus for the first time. It’s ok.  I’ve only lived here for nearly six years! Apparently the same route eventually takes you to Stansted Airport. You learn something new every day).

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