Friday, April 21, 2006

Stuff of (impermanant) dreams

For several years already, I have been adhering to the ‘no attachments’ school of thought for certain aspects of my life.
If one binds one’s ego to an impermanent characteristic/object, one is bound to be pained when that characteristic/object disappears. Which is bound to happen, seeing that it is impermanent in the first place.

However, it could well be a case of rationalising my failure to achieve much in those aspects of my life. In other words, sour grapes.


***


“Nay, there is no point to owning a car. Look at the price cars are selling for these days! And think of the petrol prices, maintenance costs, parking fees and taxes. Insurance!”

“I’d rather live without a car- one less attachment to fret over.”

Then along comes this bright yellow race-spec Lotus Elise. Wrapped around the circumference of its magnificent BBS rims are Yokohama sports tyres, with barely a few treads just to get around the regulations. A black wing stretches across the car’s rear, and a carbon fibre diffuser is in place of the original aluminium underbody panels. An uprated engine block, racing gearbox and limited slip differential justifies the aerodynamics and suspension upgrades.

The Lotus idles noisily, occasionally burping and popping loudly through its unsilenced exhaust pipes. Abruptly, it accelerates brutally down the main straight, the waste gates hissing angrily at each gear change. It brakes and downshifts into turn one, flames crackling from the exhaust. Through the apex the car sweeps, accelerating out with a menacing wail.

“I think I’d like a car like that…”
That grape might not be so sour after all...

Little did I know that a car like that is a humongous hassle. The gearbox is not synchromeshed, demanding perfect shifts every time. The clutch bites like a crocodile’s jaws, with little room for error. The steering geometry does not allow 3-point turns; it advocates 7-point turns. In rain, the slick tyres grip like ice blocks. There is no seat for a passenger, neither is there room for groceries. There is no air-conditioning except for a pipe that funnels air from the front of the car into the driver’s face. There is no insulation, noise or thermal. The suspension feels like they were machined out of solid granite.


***


And I'm not talking about cars; not this time anyway.


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