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The beauty of a dependence vs independence conundrum
Hi friends and family,
Happy belated 4th! After 28 years in the US, I finally got it - American culture and independence is profoundly embodied in cars. Yes, that’s right. Take a look at the photos bellow. At sixteen you can drive, at eighteen - vote, at twenty one - drink. And long after you have stopped caring about voting, or drinking, you will still have your ever faithful car by your side.
A built-in dependence on cars is marketed as independence to a sixteen year old. I should know because my stepdaughter just completed Driver’s Ed with a 98% score and can’t wait to drive her friends around. Driving is a rite of passage. Once hooked, good luck getting off the bandwagon. But then again, modern American infrastructure is designed with the car for a best friend. Manufacturers are just meeting the needs of distance. We call to the witness stand the boulevards in Chicago and Phoenix; the traffic in LA; exiled, cut off suburbs. Commuters of all color, sex and race - unite!
Owning a car is a birthright. And it’s catching on. You should see the streets in the ancient town of Veliko Turnovo in Bulgaria. Old cobbled streets with cars growing like weeds, balancing on curbs like circus artists walking on tightrope, rubbing shoulders in plazas like best friends, double parked in your living room on a flat screen TV. Once in your car, the world is not that flat anymore. In Sofia, my hometown, courtyards where we used to play hide and seek as kids have become parking lots.
Cars are here to stay, you can love them, you can hate them but their story is our story. They are America’s story superimposed on the world. Who knows what ending awaits cars, but walking around a car show equals getting a history lesson in the artistry of auto manufacturing. I certainly walked away with a greater appreciation for cars. It might be self-evident for an American, for an immigrant it was eye-opening.
As for that dependence vs independence conundrum which permeates every fiber of life…for every tail, there is a head and so the world spins its wheels…
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