Saturday, 4 February 2012

Daytime TV

A red coffin on a white truck, and I the only mourner.  Gone!  To be squeezed and squashed, stamped, into an iron pizza.  Cars!  Suddenly so big, so enormous, when you give them away, to be broken up and buried in some suburban knackers yard.  Giving it away!  Something so large!  So expensive!  And all the money you have spent on it.  Valueless now… too young to be an antique it is too old to be wanted.  Though suddenly I want it, as it is carried away; wobbling on the back of a flat bed truck; disappearing down the industrial estate.  I am sad for a while; for a few lonely moments.  Cars.  They dominate our lives.  But then they are gone, and very quickly they are nothing; and we are free once more. 

My first car.  Then I really was sad…

No longer allowed to daydream on the open road.  Or read on the railway track.  And how peremptory was its demands.  Look after me!  Those tires need air.  Check the oil!  I am getting dirty today, I need a drink; feed me feed me…  Like a young child needing constant attention…  How boring they are.  And so jealous, throwing all your dreams (and books) away.  You can’t do that.  Protect me!  Demanding you look straight ahead, with 100% concentration: day-dreaming again you stupid moron!  So vain about their appearance…  They’d have you out there every Sunday with the rollers and hairdryer; jealous of the old Ford with the quiet husband.

Cars.  They are a novel with the same plot, and where all the details are the same; even the covers resemble each other.  Life in the front seat: a sofa on the crowded road before a TV with just one channel.

How boring!  Living only to stay alive.  There is no time for anything else.  Cars.  They turn us into beasts, machines, instruments of work, the holidays, that weekly shop at the local supermarket…  The dreams are gone. The books are in the attic.  They domesticate us.  Practical men we are grown up at last…  Our mothers will be pleased.

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