We have bought a car, yes we have. It is a 1976 Carolla. It is bright green, it has four wheels, and most of the doors open. It is the envy of Afghanistan, and maybe even Pakistan too. I suspect the excellent Cam Tero, the original Luddite would highly approve. And Elijah, our son, on hearing we had bought a car, was thrilled. He was expecting a man’s car, a large boofy 4WD. However on seeing the Green Hornet, he was… mmm. Let’s see. I think ‘disgusted’ would be the word. He could barely speak, and was not at all interested in checking it out. ‘It’s not even a car, Dad’, he said, tartly.
Since the purchase last week, he has grown more accustomed to it, but he is still very keen for me to trade it in. Interestingly, the Green Hornet was built at a time when people must have been slenderer: the steering wheel is very low to the seat, so you have to slide in, slowly and stealthily. We have already had one minor accident: Julie was driving when a vehicle struck her from behind.
Usually, as alert readers will remember, a car accident provokes a great deal of shouting and machismo, probably violence and may involve guns (accident in the bazaar ). Julie, wisely, drove serenely on, but was followed by the male driver, who leaned out his window and accosted her; blaming her for his smashed headlight, broken several years ago when he struck a stray dog on the Kandahar road. But on seeing more closely the age and state of our car, and that it was a woman driver, he decided not to press his fault to his advantage.
Other thoughts: we were talking last night about how we are doing here, now that we’ve been here a month. We agreed that Afghanistan these days is significantly harder than before, with even less opportunities for recreation and fun.
Me: ‘A lot here is life-denying. It is hard to keep positive. We need to find things to do that are life-affirming. The problem is that many of those things are…’
Julie and I look at each other. We decide we are going to hold some gigs in our home, ask people to bring their instruments over and we will all have a jam. I am also going to start a Kids Club, so the kids in our teams have something more to do. Donations of resources (silk screening gear, games books (Yaconelli, Silver Bullets), art materials, cash) are welcome.