A Purple Car In Melbourne

Recently I saw a purple BMW and the thought of this purple BMW in the Melbourne traffic stayed with me. It was a disruption. The purple was a purple without a metallic shine. It looked like Hobby the Turkish chocolate my father bought for me each time I visited my uncle’s shop together with him when I was a child. It came in a tiny purple chocolate wrap and it was the most delicious chocolate. I had searched for this chocolate bar, and I was surprised to find it again in Tehran last time when I visited. Most objects can’t be re-found but chocolates can. I was surprised that Ulker Chocolates still made it. I smiled at the chocolate bar. I couldn’t bring myself to buy one. It was good there on its own and its correct place, and it certainly brought a smile.

This BMW, this chocolate bar driving on the streets of Melbourne was not something I’d associate with a car, let alone the prestige one associates with driving a BMW. I enjoy colours and I myself don’t drive something people would associate with luxury, I drive a blue Japanese-made car. The only factor separating me from this Other was the shine, since blue and purple are from the same family of colours. This was pleasing to me. There is something to be desired about the shine, that difference. I was reminded of one of Freud’s cases, the man who only fell in love with women who had a shine on the nose. Similarity created a sense of disconnectedness within me. The purple BMW had disrupted, and had put the Melbourne traffic cars and colours in disarray, there was a consistency and this purple car disrupted this consistency. Nice. However, this can be dangerous, you know getting distracted with chocolates and cars, bmws, and memories, one should only pay attention to the road and the driving when on the road!  

The purple BMW posed four problems. Firstly that it was a BMW. Secondly that it was purple. Thirdly that it was a BMW. Fourthly (Is it correct to say fourth or fourthly?) it was a purple MBW that was driving very slowly. This car broke every rule. German cars are known for speed, why purchase a luxury German car and destroy it in every possible way possible. I was stuck behind this slow moving situation. I had places I needed to be (patience… ). There was a car, a much bigger car, than the BMW in front of me. This car was between the BMW and my own car. It was a white SUV, the world was in order again. However I was terribly curious. I felt I knew the person who drove the purple BMW and I wanted to stop them for a chat. I felt protective over the German luxury brand, I thought if the BMW company cared as much as I did about one of their cars being destroyed like that.

What made this BMW the source of psychic distress (a symptom) was not the colour. This is someone who wanted to say, hey I don’t care what you think what the colour of a BMW should be. I can afford to buy a BMW and paint it whatever colour that I want even if it breaks all the rules of what some people would consider to be good taste. Obviously the people at the BMW company had spent a lot of thought on what would be tasteful and popular for the people – for all. However this driver was saying something different to BMW. This driver was exercising her subjective difference on the streets of Melbourne. Her and I shared something. We both respect and strive for difference, even though we don’t see eye to eye on colours of BMWs.

This is freedom of choice, the courage to select a colour, any colour that you want for your BMW. I wanted to ask her if she knew why she had picked purple and not silver, and if she could say more about its meanings. What were the thoughts that came before the selection? Or did she pick purple without any thought. I always have such admiration for people who can be free. I tend to think over details, and so writing is a good sublimation. Surely she did not want a premium car. Surely there is something else, something more than a BMW that she wanted, I wanted to tell her. May be the car wasn’t a symptom. May be there was nothing between purple and BMW. Like Freud said, sometimes it is just a cigar.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The purple is and isn’t symbolic, with and without meanings. It also has a body. It is a car. Some people want to sell the car later, but this driver does not seem to worry about that, or may be she will find that one person who also wants a purple BMW. 

The purple removes the car from its status as a car, certainly as a BMW, and personalizes it and makes it something else. It is like an invention. She invented her own car. Cars can be threatening things for people. We have to get training lessons to drive one. They’re called death traps in some countries, and in some other countries they’re fetish objects, or objects of commodity, objects of leisure and prestige, but also less importantly as modes of transport. This driver isn’t driving a car. She is driving a comment, a proposal, an accent, a small but sharp disruption in the city of Melbourne. 

It is saying I’m a BMW but look again, am I? May be I’m your favourite childhood moments, may be I’m a chocolate bar. It interrogates the sense and taste. Oh look again, may be I’m a car. May be I’m a car, a thought and a chocolate bar at the same time. May be I’m something you saw in your dreams but couldn’t quite put to words, and I did it for you. You’re welcome.

It’s like that with bodies too. The body of this car, my body, your body, bodies that we choose, which are becoming increasingly personalized in the same way as this purple BMW. We can make modifications. We can make these bodies delicious. We can increase or decrease the volume, like the volume of the music of the car. Someone who uses hearing aids can choose to turn the volume up or down. He or she can choose to hear and sometimes we have to be able to switch off the volume and keep our eyes on the road.





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