It has started to get quite warm in Kuwait now– somewhere in the 45 to 50 degrees Celsius. At these kinds of temperatures, one tries to help the air conditioning system in their car in any way they can, and the various tints, perforated clothes, and straight-up curtains reminded me of one of the first times I was in an American car. Since those cars in the early to mid eighties had zero reputation for reliability, and high prices in the Middle East, most “sensible people” (my parents’ friends) didn’t indulge in such silliness. Every once in a while, though, someone would. When I was looking at some curtains on a bus yesterday, this made me think of one of our parents’ cousins in Riyadh who had a new Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. It was a maroon colored car, with plush velour seats (which were amazingly like the couches in our living room) and an incredibly quiet color-matched interior with equally matched curtains on drawstrings on the rear windows. At the time, the lack of vision that opaque curtains presented did not at all occur to me, because I was too busy being amazed about how this car was so comfortable inside it was as if it had turned into being a house! …and then the quiet! I still remember being amazed as the car moved about that it made almost no noise at all! Coming from a world of sensible Toyotas and Mitsubishis etc., this was really amazing. Those cars didn’t have this kind of sound deadening, this kind of smooth or this kind of quiet. You know you were in a car, and that was just…so normal!
Maybe it’s because of experiences like this that I still have a part of me that loves quiet, gliding smooth cars. Not because I don’t wish to drive a rambunctious, screaming sports car on most days. But because sometimes it’s just…nice.