Thursday, October 14, 2004

Four-Stroke Ego

Four-Stroke Ego

As much as I dislike driving, I still find myself behind the wheel quite often in KL. But I am a bit perplexed as to why people associate so much pride with their cars. To me it is just a metal box for transporting a person from point A to point B--no different from a building lift.

I've suggested before in a previous blog entry that cars in cities of the future (if we still need cars at all) should be public and "disposable"--like supermarket trolleys. Grab one when you need it and just chuck it away when you're done with it. Isn't it amusing if for some inexplicable reason people start owning supermarket trolleys and take pleasure in parading their newest and fanciest models while shopping for their weekly supply of toilet paper and Maggi Mee at Carrefour?

Maybe people treat cars like the clothes they wear. You can't dress sloppily to go to work; it creates a bad impression. Fair enough. But why do we get so mad when another car cuts into our lane or when we get honked for being slow to move at the traffic lights?

Most of us won't behave in such a manner when say, we are a walking in a crowded mall--isn't it common to bump into people and to get obstructed all the time? We might not be courteous enough to say "sorry" or "excuse me" all the time but we don't get that mad. We just get on with it. Why can't we do the same on the road?

The whole problem stems from the fact that cars are such status symbols. Whenever our cars get knocked by others, it is more than our car bumper that gets dented--the ego gets bruised too. This unconscious association of the car with the ego is the cause of a lot pain. It is not surprising that road rage incidents are quite common nowadays and have even led to tragic consequences.

Driving a good car can be a very pleasurable experience--just like any other sport on wheels such as riding a bicycle or roller-skating--if we know how to keep it at that. But I think, we all get a little bit too car-ried away sometimes, turning a simple four-stroke transport vehicle into an instrument for stroking the ego.

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