Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Cars and boys
I have a 7 year old nephew who ever since he was born, has had a fascination with cars - and Subaru in particular. (This may be no coincidence as I once heard that Subaru eschewed most forms of traditional advertising to focus on marketing through games, toys, etc. and their brand recognition amongst young kids, as a consequence, is way ahead of the larger traditional motor manufacturers. It will be interesting to see how this translates into sales in the next 10-15 years when these young ones begin to buy cars.) Anyway, just to give you an indication of how deep his affection for things vehicular runs, when he sleeps over at his granny’s house (my mom) she reads him to sleep by reading to him from a book that lists the specifications of a range of supercars. The other day, he tagged along with me and his grandpa when my dad had to collect his car after a service. VW, where my dad was to collect his vehicle, is right next to the Subaru dealership. Well, when he saw this, he could not contain his excitement and asked if he could go and have a look. I vaguely said: ‘Maybe we’ll see.’ but thought to myself that there was no way I was walking into any dealership unless I was seriously considering purchasing a vehicle. I am not a browser and the prospect of been hounded by a salesman really did not appeal. After my dad had collected his car, I drove off in mine and glancing back I saw him reverse, turn back the other way and park right outside the Subaru dealership and a little figure hop out and half run, half trip ahead of his grandfather in his excitement to get to the door. The two of them then disappeared inside. I felt bad – not only for my own self-centredness, but also with regret, realised that in being selfish, I had missed out on what would have been a wonderful moment to witness: the innocent wonder and thrill of a child. There are exceptions to every rule, but as I watched that scene, it yet again confirmed what so many of my contemporaries who have recently become parents, have told me: Becoming a parent places into stark relief the selfishness and self-absorption that tends to precede parenthood while simultaneously and mercifully (and mostly) curing you of it. I do kind of look forward to learning that lesson for myself, God willing.