RIP little car

RIP little car (?1997 – ⚰️2019)

I think that the 20th century reaches almost its purest expression on the highway. Here we see, all too clearly, the speed and violence of our age, its strange love affair with the machine and, conceivably, with its own death and destruction.

What is the real significance in our lives of this huge metallised dream? Is the car, in more senses than one, taking us for a ride?JG Ballard

You were my first and will be my last. Inherited you from my mom. When the tow truck got you today an old neighbour walked over to me and said: “Now yet another piece of your mother is gone.” Loved the pathos and the sad cyborgish ambiguity of that. I also felt a bit sorry for that neighbour because in those words also resonated the slightly bitter note of being reminded of her own transcience. There was an ounce of truth in that sentence: You always kept feeling like the car I just borrowed from my mom for a while. I never would have bought a car for myself but I was a big fan of having one available.

I loved all those long relaxing rides, those long roads, especially when on my own and feeling at peace, listening to audiobooks and the sweetest music or just the humming of the motor and the wheels on asphalt. Oh, the old sin of taking pleasure in car cruising. Sorry, future generations but we had so much fun with it, we all felt a bit like an Imperator Furiosa when we first hit the road in our own car. It was one of the best rites of passage, not because of motor and steel and design fetish but because it was geographically liberating: Suddenly you could independently cover bigger distances away from your home.

Oh, that breeze of fresh air I felt in my chest when I hit your gas pedal and headed onto the motorway, for a holiday, to shows, to dj gigs. The quiet late night rides back from other cities, when the others fell asleep and it was just you and me keeping them safe on the road home. I’ve always enjoyed the luxury of a room of my own, sealed off from others, having your own steel cabin to ride. No fellow train passengers who could bother you with disgusting smells or desperate efforts to chat you up. No train schedules, no airport security checks, you could leave whenever and stop and go whereever you wanted.

As nice as it was: Like so many other burning-oil-things cruising in you, little car, hasn’t aged well. The last couple of years I have already used you less and less and tbh you gave me an environmental headache, dear. Good-bye, little car, good-bye another piece of the 20th century. The 21st will move from oil and steel and plastic and highly visible machines to be all about air and hidden machines and machineries and machinerettes.

P.S.: I like that this seems to be the only picture of you that I got.
(It’s monster heads for an Otto von Schirach + Talibam + Shitmat show back in 2010.)


2 thoughts on “RIP little car

  1. Good-bye, little car, good-bye little friend. I am crying as I read this. My mother is still alive. Like you, I have her little car. I bought it for US$ 1000 from her. I am now 2300 miles away from my mother. I know that one day very soon, my mother will be gone. Her car won’t last forever either (she got it in 2003), and what your neighbor said will be true for me, “Now yet another piece of your mother is gone.”

    I always keep feeling like I just borrowed the car from my mother for a little while too. I am glad your mother gave you that gift of her extended self. The photo you took of the car makes me smile through tears. I like the square monster heads a lot!

    Thank you for writing this. I found you here through a website of Reza Negarestani and of course, your twitter.

    1. Thanks for writing too! Isn’t it weird how even such big heaps of metal and plastic can make us relate to each other? Humans are the social-est creatures!

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