Don't be a fashion victim
Dress to survive, even if that means badly.
When I was a boy, my ambitions were lofty; the unqualified love of all women, being a fighter pilot, that sort of thing. Now I'm a man I have put aside childish things. In fact, my only remaining aim in life is to get to the end of it without running over anyone.
I do worry about this. I'd hate to be dribbling in a rocking chair on the back porch thinking that I was off to meet the maker in the knowledge that something I regard as essentially a hobby had cost someone else's life. What's to be done?
Speed limits, cry some. Many are too low to be reasonable - the British motorways, some dual carriageways - and in any case speed is a bit like farting. You have to know when it's inappropriate. Imagining you're a safe driver simply because you stick to some fairly arbitrary number on a dial is a feeble-minded attempt to absolve yourself of real responsibility. Paying proper attention is more important.
On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that 30mph on the high street running through local Hammersmith is terrifyingly fast. The people of Hammersmith like to wander randomly into the road. And why shouldn't they? It's their road and it's my job not to run over them.
The good news is that the survivability of pedestrians has been greatly improved over my motoring lifetime. Brakes and tyres are better, so are headlights, and so are windscreen wipers. Glasses are better, and more people are wearing them. Cars have fewer and fewer sharp edges, and have softer bonnets for local drunks to bounce off. It all bodes well for the fulfilment of my life goals. But there's something else.
As I write, it's winter. The sky gleams like mercury, the air itself seems grey. People wear more clothes in winter, and stand out less starkly against the drab January canvass. It’s like a Lowry viewed through a sheet of bog roll. More to the point, though, we are in what some analysts would regard as a recessionary colour period. Times are uncertain, and this is reflected in the cars we choose. Look what's trendy: grey, silver, and dark blue. Meanwhile, the vogue in clothing is for autumnal hues and earth colours, such as browns and russet.
Why invent the three-point seat belt and then make your cars the same colour as the scenery? Idiots.
Combine these, and you can see a problem. The car is slightly less visible, and so is the person. It might only add a fraction of a second to my response time, but that might be the difference between a Hammersmith native doing a comedy hop and skip in the road and going home with a busted leg. Bright paint and a fashion for floral prints must, perforce, be safer.
The clear choice for today's safety-conscious motorist.
Think about this next time you buy a car, because the case for my orange Ferrari is stronger than I thought. I know my shirts and jackets are pretty terrible, too, but hey; I'm still alive. Look out of the window when you're driving, and look before you cross the road. But remember: it could be Paul Smith who saves your life.