When I was seventeen, I crashed my mum's car. More accurately, for the first time I crashed it into something which wasn't a curb, with which I had experienced many run-ins, and which the car's wheels showed a great deal of familiarity to. I had long ago patented my revolution method of parking by braille.
This time, I was driving as every seventeen year old boy is taught not to drive, and how every seventeen year old boy drives. That is not to say with extreme speed and visions of James Bond in mind, but rather, without my eyes always where they should have been.
Backing out of a car park at a mall (which are apparently hotspots for crashes anyhow, absolving me of most of the responsibility for my own actions I hoped at the time), instead of observing the supple young sapling behind me, I continued to instead observe my friends who were at the time doing something unpleasant (but temporary) to a third friends car, involving a chalk marker and choice words.
The sapling stood still, frozen in terror as I made my approach backwards at idling speed. Picture the scene in Goldfinger where the laser begins its slow crawl towards Bond, in preparation to cut him clean in half. It had nowhere to run, bound in place by those little loops of burlap which face opposite directions and are pegged into the ground to keep it upright. They did not keep it upright.
I'll never quite forget the feeling of the crunch, or how the seconds it took me to get around the car to inspect the damage dragged on as I pictured the whole back of the car fallen off and laying there forlorn. My laughter, which had moments ago been so vigorous as to have been hurting my stomach, then shifted to my friends who promptly also fell on the ground upon seeing my predicament. And my stomach hurt in different ways, as it flipped itself into knots.
The damage was about the size of a 50 cent piece of paint, or lack thereof. It wasn't much. Nor was the damage to the landscape, as the sapling had never been given it's change to flourish and soften the hard grey landscape around it. One youth striking another youth down before it could reach its prime. The war between nature and mankind. The metaphors are endless, and meaningless.
I found myself back at a mall this week. It went as every trip to the mall goes. You enter with a purpose and a resolve to be out as quick as possible, laser focussed on the one thing that you are there to get. It's like venturing into the bush- you tell someone you expect to be back by this time, and if not, then nature has claimed me; raise the alarm.
The sliding doors release you back into fresh air and dazzling sunlight hours later, laden down with the unnecessary, the plastic, the cheap, the mass produced. Trudging through the thick dark mud of consumption back to your car, burdened with the encumbrance of existence in our society, swearing to never return.
There are interesting parallels with a visit to YouTube. It also begins with a purpose- when you go on YouTube, there is something which you seek, and it is not just to peruse. 'Oh wise one, I am here to borrow from your infinite wisdom'. If you are a practical person, it will be advice on how to fix the television. If you're a techy person, it will be how to fix a tap. Or if you're under the age of 14, it will probably be how to make slime, or do a dance move called 'flossing'.
But that one video will not be where you end up. Hours later you emerge after some necessity of life calls you away from watching 'Camel laughing when tickled'. Your eyes sore from the screen, and your body moulded to the shape of the couch.
It was one of those videos which took me to the mall. You see, there I was on Youtube, either trying to fix something practical or technological, since I fit into neither of the above categories, when from the corner of my screen, from the corner of my eye, I spotted the holy grail of viewing material.
The very peak of entertainment. A better analysis and comment on human nature than an Attenborough documentary with the cameras turned around, more rage and swearing than a rap song, more violence and destruction than a Bruce Willis movie.
It was the 'Australian Dashcam Crashes and Road Rage Compilation'.
So after some enthralling viewing, off I went to get myself a dashcam. Now I'm waiting for the excitement to unfold like it does on the screen. I'll let you know if I see Prince Philip, James Bond, or a seventeen year old with friendly vandals for friends.