Some things hurt more than cars and girls – A Guest Column by Ismail Lagardien
So…. I am writing about cars. I never thought the day would come. You see, I have a paradoxical and contradictory relationship with cars. It goes something like this: I love driving, but I hate cars. I love speed, but I rarely break the speed limit. Sometime between the ages of about 10 and 15, I worked in a motor mechanic’s yard. He was the best known, and the best independent Volvo expert in Johannesburg. Okay maybe only in the areas formerly known as coloured townships. By the time I was 16, before politics beckoned, I could, seriously, do almost anything on an engine or gearbox. Yet, today, when I open the bonnet of a car, I can’t figure out where the carburetor is. What is that big black plastic thing that covers the engine, anyway? And then, over most of the past two decades I could afford to buy a big, expensive car, but for ethical reasons I always bought a small, hatchback. If the editor of GirlTorque invite me to write a few more pieces I will explain further….
Here I am thinking about buying a car. Where do I start? Currently I drive a small, Citroen C3.
Like the car before that, a Ford Focus ZX3, the Citroen was the cheapest car I saw on the first car lot. When I bought the Citroen in November 2011, it was six years old.When I bought the Focus (in Washington DC), in October 2005, it was three years old. I now want to buy another, fairly cheap, used car. I could probably afford to buy ‘my favourite car’ (a Volvo XC90), but I couldn’t be arsed. To be honest, actually, if Volvo were still owned and built by the Swedes, I would probably consider buying one.
The philosopher and political economist in me ran through some options. The next car I buy has to be used. I will not pay a lot of money for a car. It should have a low odometer reading, at least a 1600 engine, a service plan, and last at least five years. I am not interested in anything windgat; I will not be defined or validated by the car I drive. Besides I am comfortable with my small manhood. Ultimately, any new car I buy has to fit my budget. I will not buy on credit. I don’t like debt. Private and sovereign debt is what caused the current global political economic crisis. (OOPS, sorry, didn’t mean to get serious)
After thinking through all the options the result is this: I will buy a used Toyota Corolla with 35 000 km on the clock, a service plan that will last at least three years. It is a characterless car, I know, but it will last. At least I hope so.
I know, I know. I DID say that I had a strange relationship with cars. I will write more about that in another post. Some things hurt more than cars and girls, you know.