Friday, 28 October 2016

Cars and the Social Scale.

I was watching people getting in and out of their cars in a supermarket car park the other day and I imagined a universal musing going through their minds:

‘I can look down on him because his car is seven years older and a lot cheaper than mine. But I suppose I have to look up to him because he’s got an eighteen-month-old Audi A6.’

I doubt that people actually think that consciously, but I’m sure it’s there somewhere at the back of their minds. I have a sneaking suspicion that one of these days they’re going to start grading public car parks so that the spaces closest to the amenity will be reserved for the poshest cars, while the ones furthest away will be the only spaces available to the cheaper ones.

And I suppose the educational system is in large part responsible for it, because it seems to me that the main thrust of education these days is to pressure kids to aspire to reach number 11 or 12 on the 1-20 social scale, rather than having to settle for position 9 or 10. That’s what success is. It isn’t what I think it should be, which might run something along the lines of ‘being content with being who you are and being allowed to function according to how you’re wired.’ And it tends to overlook the futility of it all, because wherever you are on the social scale there will always be people above you.

And on that note, I read today that somebody in Hong Kong paid over £½m for a parking space (just one) in the parking lot of a swish domestic development. One local remarked that a new top-of-the-range Ferrari costs less than that. Quite, but I expect the proud owner of the 12 sq metres of expensive tarmac already has one of those.

I do hope that somebody in HK has a sense of humour and is prepared to wait until the rich guy goes out, whereupon they will park a 30-year-old Ford Escort (with rust patches and a broken tail light glass) in his hallowed space and then film his reaction when he comes back. I’m sure if they posted it to YouTube it would become very popular very quickly.

Finally, I’m reminded of that line from the Godley and Creme apocalyptic concept album, Consequences. The rich lawyer is bemoaning the difficulty he experienced getting to the meeting through storm force winds, and says:

‘Thank God for the Rolls, I say. Some of the cheaper cars were going backwards.’

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