Giving blue lights the red light

Giving blue lights the red light


LONG before I heard the sound I saw the flashing lights in my rear-view, catching me quickly on the freeway. My first reaction was to check my speed: 112km/h. That should be OK, shouldn’t it? No-one gets booked for doing 2km/h over the limit on a freeway. Even so, paranoia and a guilty conscience kicked in and I eased off slightly; my speed fell to 108.

Then the sound: an engine, and a big one at that, working hard.

The sound and the lights went past me together as if I were standing still, and I registered that the car was a Lamborghini Aventador – I recognised it because it’s the same model as my former financial adviser drives. Up-close the lights looked like an electronic insect zapper, flashing beneath the car and illuminating the road around it as it flew past.

It was visually arresting (and I imagine the driver was arrested in a different way not much further on up the road) but you have to wonder what kind of person spends upwards of $850,000 on a car and then decks it out like a kid’s Blue Light Disco.

There’s no accounting for taste, and there’s no correlation with wealth, apparently. I’ve seen this on any number of occasions when looking at various second-hand cars over the years. As a rule of thumb, I’ve found that the closer to original condition the better. When you inevitably need parts for the old banger it’s easier to get manufacturer’s bits rather than trying replace parts the previous owner found in a wrecker’s yard or (more recently) ordered from some obscure online retailer.

'Last time I bought a car new, there was such a menu of options and alternatives that I could not fathom how one might fail to specify something more or less exactly to one’s own taste.'

In any case, one woman’s modification iss another woman’s idea of sheer demonic hell, as the Aventador illustrated in all its blue-light flashing fury. Last time I bought a car new, there was such a menu of options and alternatives that I could not fathom how one might fail to specify something more or less exactly to one’s own taste. But some still seem to prefer to resort to after-market parts, with modifications informed by a Christmas-tree aesthetic and implemented with the subtlety of a rugby front-rower.

And the last time I sold a car I know for a fact I received a premium for it because it was essentially in the same condition as when it rolled out of the showroom 25 years earlier.

I suppose the car-modification enthusiasts will tell you that they’re individualising their cars, that the bits they add and the weirdness they give expression to is an extension of their very own personalities. That may be the case, but if it is, some of them are clearly experience psychotic episodes on a fairly regular basis. I suspect that deep down they’re also the kind of people – let’s face it, they’re almost always men – who will marry a girl and tell her they love her, and then insist she get a boob job or have botox or liposuction to ensure she conforms to some male concept of the “ideal” female.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it; but maybe some women feel obligated to be the human equivalent of a blue flashing Aventador driven by an arrested adolescent with mother issues.

I can attest that were The Companion to express such sentiments then he’d fairly assuredly be in need of some cosmetic work himself. Dentistry, principally.