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.