Friday, September 10, 2010


The other day a younger man confessed that he wouldn't want to drive around in my car. It wasn't cool, and he rather wished that he didn't feel like that about the car, but admitted that he liked cool cars.

There is nothing wrong with my car. True, it is old and boxy, and doesn't have a quivering boom-box. Or mag wheels. The air-con doesn't work any more. It doesn't have a bossy GPS or an on-board computer. It has most of the essentials though: wheels, windscreen, an engine, the everyday wires and tubes and other stuff under the whatsit - the bonnet. The ignition key is just a regular old key - it doesn't tweet and make the lights go on and off. The car usually allows me to drive it from A to B, it doesn't care whether I clean it or not, and I ask nothing else of it.

It's just a car, dammit, not a life-style statement. Why does this bother some people but not me? Some people have a sense of coolness or un-coolness and I don't. I don't even understand how it might matter. There isn't even consensus about it anyway - just watch Jeremy Clarkson and his crowd on "Top Gear". They squabble endlessly about the coolness or otherwise of cars and never reach an agreement.

It's not just cars either, it's clothes and colours and words and furniture and mobile phones and even plants. Even I know that it is un-cool to have an avocado bathroom suite, or a stupid frill around the bed base, or pittosporums and iceberg roses in the garden. But we've stopped laughing at men who used to wear flared trousers because they have come back but are called something else and they are now cool. I think - I can't keep up. I wanted to buy curtains a few months ago but left the shop in despair because all the colours were gloomy greys and muddy greens and bronzy browns - so cool but oh so dull and depressing.

So, my car is un-cool. And I don't care. But at least I don't have fluffy dice dangling over the dash or a garfield stuck on the window. So last century.

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