Friday 4 November 2011

Old Bangers - A Parable

With Bonfire Night fast approaching, I thought I'd write about bangers*. Old bangers.

Once upon a time I used to walk to work. I was independent and it cost me very little; a bit of shoe leather, sturdier socks and replacement of both every now and then. Occasionally it rained and sometimes it was icy, but on the whole it was reliable and I was in charge. Never late for work.

Then one day, tempted by the profligacy of friends, I bought a car. It seemed like a good idea, because everybody else was doing it. The initial outlay and the insurance and road tax all seemed a good trade off for comfort and speed. Besides, I could afford it and there would be so many other benefits, so no worries.

But as time went on I realised that cars are very needy things. They need petrol and oil and tyres and occasionally they break down, which requires tools and time or else paying somebody else to keep them on the go. While I was driving and spending, spending to drive, I began to realise that more and more of my income went on feeding the car. I had to put in overtime just to afford the wheels. And I couldn't afford the gas to go anywhere except work. Who was driving who now?

So now, my working day was longer and as the roads got busier the car journey got more stressful, especially as the motor was getting needier, breaking down more often, making me late and eating up all my cash. But as I 'invested' more and more money on the car I was loath to buy a newer one because, surely, that last repair would keep me going for months? And nobody I asked could agree whether it was better to trade it in or to keep it going, or offer any other alternatives. Nobody knew, but they all cautioned against abandoning my grand automotive project; to not have a car was just unthinkable.

One day, stuck in traffic, I was overtaken by a pedestrian and I thought, fuck it, I'm going back to independence.

The Euro is the political equivalent of my old banger; governments are going to keep throwing money at it until it breaks down completely before they finally see the light. Why not just park it up at the side of the autobahn, set it alight and walk away?

Can anybody give me a straight answer?

(*And back to Bonfire Night - get your proper bonfire bangers from Stu at Taylors in Coventry! I can thoroughly recommend the Welsh Dragons - yummy.)

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