Dawn of the Lilliput Rides…


While waiting for my lift home sometime during this past week, my eyes wondered about the taxi rank across the street. Standing in this place for a period longer than necessary can make one vulnerable to unsolicited attention as well as comments from hormonal juveniles, hobos and men alike.

Let’s not forget those rude Brits women who ask about one’s hair without even so much as a greeting, “So, your dreadlocks, O di entse kae?”  It is no surprise that I became a little impatient.

Alas, there is always a chance of seeing something intriguing here once in a while. For a good five minutes I looked on in amazement as one “divo” strut his stuff down the small hill, you just gotta love the confidence (maybe even over-compensation) that comes with being gay sometimes. I chuckled under my breath at the sight, but with hindsight realise my silliness.

Something else caught my attention as I stood sandwiched between two cars. To my right, a couple was conversing over the roof of their car deciding what to buy from the KFC behind me. On their way back, the woman put the take-always on the roof of the car. Their car: Their red, neat, nifty, little car. Cute. Aren’t they all sooo cute, these “city cars”? Don’t we just love the swift manner in which they manoeuvre in traffic, hmm…anyone? Nay, they are absolutely horrendous!

While the couple went about their business, I retorted silently, “That’s not a car!” Said my car-less, broke ass self while eyeing a Cherokee SRT 8 making a turn at the robot. Yeah, I’m sure my friends are tired of hearing me swoon over this masterpiece. Talk about beggars wanting to be choosers. However, aren’t we all arm-chair critics of sorts at some point? –we think our favourite soccer team should have done better on a particular game, we pace up and down the living room shouting obscenities at the coach feeling confident that we can do a better job given the opportunity.

By no means am I ridiculing anyone who owns a Ford Ka or Daihatsu Charade (what a name!), Citröen C1 or even a Chevy Spark. No. Human beings are prone to making bad choices at one point or the other, you know? There is a market for those, and a growing one at that. After all one is likely to make it to work on time driving one of these in the nightmarish Jo’burg traffic than in a fuel guzzling ML65 though I’m certain a trip to the lowveld will feel like a voyage to India.

Still, I can’t help but cringe every time I see a city car drive past; that neat package with an interior so tightly packed you’d think it’s made to carry only anorexics and midgets around. Yet grown men squeeze themselves in these things it’s unbelievable-and please don’t get me started on them being ‘women’s cars’ because as a matter-of-fact we also like ‘em big, stable, fast and mean. Who are they made for, exactly?

Asian car manufacturers can’t be solely blamed for the amount of carbon emissions as it’s obvious who the real culprits are, and we can applaud them for making cars accessible to people who would otherwise not be able to afford them. It’s their Lilliput inspired formula that I find disturbing, as if we are going back to the bicycle era…or are we?  More cars on the road mean more car accidents, more traffic jams, and more erratic drivers. My concern is that these cars are getting smaller with some lacking grossly in the safety features department. Some things just shouldn’t be compromised. You choose.