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Monday, October 17, 2011

Bmag Oct 18th 2011 - Two cars, dayight saving vs TV tweeting

We always said we wouldn’t but, for the past two years, the Howsons have been a two-car family. We never planned it that way. But when my sister-in-law decided to spend some time living and working in the UK, she needed somewhere in Brisbane to park her belongings. Now we face the moment of truth. Carly tells us she is coming home at the end of November and, funnily enough, she wants her car back! We must decide whether to go back to one vehicle or purchase a second car.

Where Nikki works, public transport isn’t an option, so she has always taken our car. I would be the one going back to taxis and buses. I do enjoy using public transport. I find it relaxing – as long as you can get a seat – and I believe in public transport as a way of keeping cars off the roads and reducing congestion and pollution. But there is something to be said for leaving work when you want to, having your own space, calling in to your favourite CD shop on the way home, and not having to walk from the bus stop!

And yet, we don’t need a second car. It’s an indulgence and further proof that materialism is out of control. We’re as guilty of this as the next person. When we bought our last television four years ago 32 inches seemed a decent size. But a couple of months ago, 55 inches became just a little too tempting. We now have two TVs. Last time we replaced our computer, we bought two identical ones and put them on a wireless home network. Sure, our son Jack is using one at the moment, meaning I can type this on the other, but did we really need two computers? Probably not. Just like the second TV and second computer, we don’t need a second car. We want one. But we don’t need one. Of course, the ultimate material want is a bigger home. I like the one we’re in but that doesn’t stop me browsing the real estate pages. The trouble is whatever you buy, you’ll always want bigger. Or newer. Or a better view. Quite simply, we are never satisfied.

I’m sure this isn’t an original thought but these words came to me the other day: As soon as you realise that you can never have everything, you give yourself permission to not want anything more. I’m not claiming to be the Dalai Lama or Confucious, but I think I’ve hit it on the head with that statement. It takes a while to come to that conclusion. No 20-year-old is going to agree with it. But as you get older – I’ll be 40 next time – you learn to be at peace with your lot. No promises, but hopefully you won’t see me buying a second car. I’d like to think that, instead, I will top up my go card and hand over the car keys.

Light or wrong? Finally, a word on daylight saving. As someone who moderates radio talkback discussions about daylight saving every six months, like clockwork, I offer the following conclusion: If you like to get up with the birds so you can surf, write, read or garden before getting on with your day, chances are you are happy without daylight saving. A 5am sunrise, as it is at the moment, makes more sense to you than 6am. If you’re not an early riser. If you’d rather use that extra hour at the end of your day, you probably support Queensland joining the southern states in having daylight saving. For you, a 7pm sunset would be preferable to the current 6pm.

There is no right and wrong answer. There are “morning people” and “night people”. Yet every April and October, those pushing for daylight saving get on their high horses and attempt to convince everyone that their way is the better way. As someone whose radio show starts at 5am, you can guess with which camp I currently sympathise! The only argument I see gaining any traction is the frustration felt by those wanting to watch television whilst Tweeting (or Facebooking, etc) along with their friends in the southern states. At least some interactive programs – including Q&A on ABC News 24 and Australia’s Next Top Model on Fox 8 – are broadcast into Queensland at the same time as the other states.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Spencer,

    Have you heard of the Collaborative Consumption Movement?

    Lots of great collaborative consumption businesses popping up in Australia.

    On the car front you may be interested in: