So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Friday, May 11, 2012
That’s why the world loves cars. Before cars, the rich and royal rode horses or horse drawn carriages. Peasants walked. Peasants were tied to the same plot of land so they didn’t have too far to go anyway. It’s their betters who had places to go.
Cars changed that. A 20 year old beater can do the legal speed limit as well as a new luxury car. They drive on the same roads. Actually, the old Red Neck 4X4 truck can go a lot of places the luxury car can’t.
A man on horse looks down on the peasants walking the ground. It’s not the same in a car. They are pretty much on the same physical level. The expensive car driver may feel superior, but doesn’t have the height advantage of a horse. The psychology is different. In fact, the guy in the big old truck physically looks down on the guy in the luxury car.
One of the big milestones of new immigrants is getting a driver’s license and car. They may not consciously think of it this way, but at some level, they know they aren’t peasants anymore. After all, peasants walk.
Public transportation doesn’t compare, at least not these days. Poor people ride buses. That’s how people think, and to a large extent it’s true. At one time train travel had a certain elegance, but those days are past. Too often public transportation has more in common with cattle cars. Thanks to the TSA, and cramped seats, flying feels more and more like peasant travel.
A person who can fill all their needs without a car has huge financial advantages. They don’t have the car payments, repairs, licenses and fees associated with a car. Their sense of financial well being compensates them somewhat. That is, if it is a choice. If they can’t afford a car, then they just feel poor.
In the modern world, everyone wants a car. The streets of China used to belong to bicycles, but now they belong to cars. They are more prosperous, so they don’t want to travel like peasants anymore.
The psychological pressure for owning a car is huge. I bought my first car at 17. That allowed me a sense of freedom I hadn’t had until then. My parents could be left behind and the car was my space. Better yet, suddenly I was much more attractive to those girls who lived way out in the country. I was somebody -a non peasant.
Now that I’m older, there are times I wish I could get by without a car. Living out here in the woods, that would be hard to do. In the old days, going into town once a month was pretty normal. That would be hard to get used to. At least I’m looking at it on a practical level. I don’t need a car to feel like somebody. My worth is not tied to what I own.
There is one group of non-car owners who’ve avoided peasant status: people who live on boats. It just doesn’t make sense to own a car. They are free to hoist anchor and travel the seven seas. There are rich people on boats, but plenty of people with peasant incomes too. Sure, some measure worth by the length of their boats, but we all know that size isn’t everything. It’s what you do with it.
What makes a peasant a peasant? Being unable to travel far. Being tied to the land. Being looked down upon. Having few choices in life. The boater lives on water. He’s a self contained unit -like a tiny country all his own. That would make him a king. The realm may be small, but he’s the master.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.