I think I’m the victim of car racism. When I look back at all the online bitching and whinging I do about Sydney traffic, it’s always in line with the days that I drive a certain car to work.
We have three cars. Yes, three cars but I can explain it and I ask that you do not judge me as a massive wanker until I explain (I can justify my wankerdom on my own thank you very much). Judging would make you a car racist too.
Car no 1: Silver Honda CRV circa 2003 – 105,000 kms on the clock
Car no 2: Silver Toyota Kluger circa 2007 – 110,000kms on the clock
Car no 3: Silver Mercedes 250 something or other 2011 – about 10,000kms on the clock
Yep, we have a thing for silver cars.
The CR-V was our first entry into pretend four wheel drive world when baby no 1 was on the way and I reluctantly traded in my uber cool silver Mazda MX5 for a semi-sensible family wagon (after I sold my very cool convertible my kind friends told me that an MX5 is in fact a ‘hairdresser’s car WTF?).
The Toyota Kluger was purchased when baby no 3 was on the way. Sick of living with one car, five seats no longer cut the mustard and we moved into the world of grown ups and often had to transport more than just our troops. We joined the 7 seater club and tried to justify the purchase by travelling to the country, to the snow and anywhere the car pushed itself into 4WD mode (it was more fuel efficient than the CR-V too).
After three years of full time work and asking my Mum (who minds the kids full time) to transport our four little ones in her tiny Holden Viva, we came to the conclusion that she needed a bigger car which was easier to get the kids in and out of. After much research a Toyota Tarago was the only answer (a Previa for the kiwi readers). Yep, off I went to Toyota full of confidence that I could do a deal. There was only one big problem. Nanny Di, Hubby and I all refused to actually drive the Tarago. We were all racist towards the Tarago. I have no idea why because everytime I go anywhere and need to hire a car, we get a Tarago and they’re brilliant.
The Tarago was deemed pointless if none of us were emotionally ready to drive a family wagon (yes, we had car racism in a big way). We collectively decided that if we ever had a 5th child, that would be the time to buy a Tarago. To justify the purchase of a Mercedes I managed to find one that was cheaper than the Tarago (in addition to all the other self indulgent “I deserve it, I work hard” kind of excuses you use to justify such a ridiculous purchase). Yes, my luxury European vehicle was cheaper than the trusty wagon and I thought I had a pretty cool ride to work in the mornings [Insert massive wankerdom here]…..until car racism came into it.
Everytime I drive the Mercedes into work it takes me at least 15 to 25 minutes longer to get there because I’ve discovered that people hate Mercedes drivers and will do whatever they can to stop you from merging, changing lanes or turning a corner. I’ve had to let up to 10 cars go past before a kindly stranger lets me merge on to the morotway. I then wave, even they give me the finger.
I am subjected to abuse beyond what’s typically normal for a blond female in a wanky car to attract. I’m serious. The number of times someone’s middle finger is pointed at me when I am in that car is ridiculous. The gesticulations at the lights if you don’t hit the accelerator the second the lights go green, any excuse to yell or beep at the wanker in the Mercedes and people will be overjoyed to show you their car racism. When I was driving home today I stopped 5 metres before a pedestrian crossing, I was in no way near the big 6 foot bloke crossing the road and up the middle finger went complete with vocal “up yours” commentary. WTF did I do? When I’m in that car people hate me.
If, on the other hand I drive the CR-V to work, I still have to wait in line to merge or change lanes but people don’t go out of their way to cut me off, hunt me down or run me over or give me the finger. They simply look at the broken light at the back and sympathise at the look of the distressed old bird thinking “Poor thing, she can’t afford to even fix the brake light”.
The Kluger on the other hand is a beast, you’re twice the size as any other car on the road and it screams “get out of my way or I will take you out”. EVERYONE moves lanes for you even if you don’t indicate (um, I always indicate, of course). You get an auto wave from country folk because you drive an almost Landcruiser and no one dares overtake you on the freeways because that puppy has a bucketload of power.
Remember the perception of a Volvo driver back in the 80’s, they were beyond a joke and everyone went out of their way to avoid a Volvo driver on the roads. The safety features of a Volvo and big square body made it the joke of the roads. My hubby is absolutely convinced that Camry drivers are the new Volvo driver. As soon as he sees a Camry on the road he automatically assumes they can’t drive and before they have a chance to make an error, the abuse flies. Car racism exists. It’s rampant. I wonder if it actually causes accidents?
For me, it’s nice to know that it’s not only me that cops abuse and car racism, everyone has their own version of a Volvo driver. Unfortunately on my route to work every day, I think I’m that driver.