25 June 2009

Second Day

Temperature at noon:  35c/96f

Today's hot news (no pun intended) must be that I got my car.  Here is something that will give you a sense of what WhereIlive is like:  the man I sold the car to, who is kindly lending it back to me for a month (in itself a demonstration of what people are like here), parked it outside my former and soon-to-be current flat, rolled down the windows slightly, tucked  the car keys under the front floor mat, and left it there overnight.  As he well knew would be the case, no one stole it.

So I slipped the key out from under the floor mat, hopped in the car, and drove.  And it turns out that, as someone said to me yesterday, driving a car is like riding a bike:  I killed no one, and I even drove on the busy main road! 

This car and its possession are curious things.  At home, I have never once felt the need of a car. I have very occasionally wished for one, to get me to the big Tesco, but that's not need.  Nor, indeed, have I felt the want of a car.  If I want to go somewhere, I hop on my bicycle, or on my legs, and go there, and it never occurs to me that I might do otherwise.  By the time I'd been here for 24 hours, however, I yearned to have my car, felt the absence of a car keenly.  This is certainly in part because it's almost impossible to get anywhere here without a car (it's more than a mile to the nearest decent store), but it's also because everybody has one.  A testament to the power of ubiquity, and thus simultaneously a testament to the power of lack of ubiquity, perhaps.  If no one had cars, how many people, I wonder, would want one?

And here is today's photo:  

This is a photo of the view from my office window (well, strictly speaking, it's also a photo of my office window). If one overlooks the large building at the bottom, I think, it's a beautiful view.  It relaxes me every time I look at it.

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