Thursday, 28 May 2009

Turning Gear Boxes Into Plant Pots

My father, who was affable but whose political views were somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, used to say, when anyone under the age of 30 came out with some liberal view on the world, "You'll grow out of it". This, of course, would send the victim into paroxyms of furious frustration and effectively put an end to any sensible debate, my father grinning with unconcealed glee at another argument won, another young pretender defeated. He was firmly of the opinion that people might start out as left-wing, wishy-washy liberals but, as they grew up and 'matured', the common sense appeal of conservatism would work its magic and everyone would ultimately come round to his way of thinking. Those that didn't were weirdy-beardies or feminists and thus, apart from being good for an entertaining debate, could be ignored.

Maybe out of spite, my views have gone in the opposite direction. I was very conventional and establishment as a young woman, and find myself becoming more radical the older I get.

For example, a few weeks ago, when I was in my non-blogging state, I saw this news item about a government proposal to charge companies, and possibly individuals for using their own workplace parking spaces. Initially I was outraged at this further interference by the Government in our everyday lives. In fact, I decided, if I ran one of the companies I would rather get rid of the car park altogether and turn it into a nice garden before I paid them a penny to park at my own place of work...and then an outrageous idea began to bloom in my head. What if all the car parks in cities were turned into public gardens? Would that be such a bad idea? In fact, wouldn't that be an absolutely gorgeous idea?

We have become so used to the idea of car as king that we seem willing to sacrifice everything in its name. Don't get me wrong, I love my car and I love the freedom that it brings. But just imagine what it would be like if we reversed the trend to pave paradise and turned car parks into gardens. Isn't that a lovely thought? Didn't it put a smile on your face, just for a second? Why couldn't we do it? And pay some attention to the pedestrian - the old, the young and the poor - give them something back to say thank you for putting up with our fumes and our noise and our speed these last thirty years. We'd all benefit because, after all, we are all pedestrians some time.

It makes me smile to think of the furious arguments I would have now with my father, if he was still around, knowing that his now well-into-middle-age daughter was letting him down by having such juvenile thoughts.


Reasonable Robinson said...

Welcome back Daisy! Fascinating post too. In my line of work there are the ideas of Keith Grint who talks about people who see the world as either 'tame' or 'wicked' If you see the world as tame, the problems are straightforward and the solutions straightforward and obvious. The wicked world is systemicaly complex and there are no easy solutions. Tame viewers see Wicked viewers as 'soft and weak'

I think turning carparks into herbacious borders is a Wicked Idea!

Rose said...

I get that real bad from my Grandma. But she quickly turns to personal attacks that about not being smart. :( I almost want to not talk to her, but you know its Grandma, so how can you not? I like how she always says I'll grow out of it though I'm 28 and still haven't My hubby is 38 and he hasn't either. And she can get even meaner to him. But her boyfriend is older than her and a Dem through and through. So we just laugh about it when she's not around. I think some conservatives may have other issues they're afraid to face, so they take it out on progressives. Or who knows?

I do like the idea of gardens and less cars, but the government might need to set up the infrastructure to get that under way. and the oil companies need to embrace this or back the fuck up.

JennyB said...

Good to have you back! Look forward to more blogging...

Anonymous said...

Joni Mitchell would be all for your idea. Me too. We have some terrible car parks in Sydney. Absolute eyesores. With the downturn many of them are lying vacant. I'd love to put this to Sydney City Council and see if they'd go for it. It's worth a try. Plant carparks for a better city, I say!

Puddock said...

RR - nice to see you too! Thanks for introducing us to the ideas of Keith Grint. I'll go and Google him right now and find out more!

Welcome Rose! Some people seem to think the best way to prepare you for the big bad world is to be mean to you - sounds like Grandma is one of those folk. Her boyfriend sounds like fun though!

Hi Jenny - it's great to be back. :)I've really missed talking to everyone.

Selma - your comment put a great big smile on my face. Isn't blogging wonderful? I have a thought, put it out into cyberspace, and moments later the idea is floating about in Sydney, where it is caught by the fabulous Selma. Maybe we should start a worldwide movement - Car Parks Into Nature Parks!

G Eagle Esq said...

I flatter myself that I agree with one of the Internet's most incisive Amphibians on so many things

... apart of course from (eg) the comparative priority to be given respectively to an inner-city Cathedral's Nest-Platforms for Falcons as against digging-up Paved Churchyards to provide Ponds for Newts & their relatives

BUT I find myself differing on Attila, who seems to be somewhat extremely LEFT-Wing - what he couldn't tax into oblivion, he plundered and destroyed - not at all like Grandfather Puddock

I remain your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

Puddock said...

M. Eagle - I can't believe I was so rude as to leave your comment unanswered all this time - too much pond water in the brain, I fear.

I would be quite happy to see nest platforms for distinguished raptors so long as they didn't use them to launch assaults on defenceless froggies swimming in their ponds.

My father would be horrified to be compared to someone left-wing so I will have to think of a new sobriquet!