The times were such that every Sunday afternoon families would drive into the family car (note: single car) and go for a quiet ride around the city. Once it was an event, something to look forward to. It could not be mocked and ridiculed. It was so because the cars were still new and it was a bliss to drive in one, even if you were driving a 30km per hour sedate and rattle to death through non-existent shocks. They were still mocked for those who did not have cars, so they could not enjoy the Sunday afternoon driving experience. Poor peasants who had to walk on Sunday! These were the days of a family that drives together and stays together.
Imagine what happened to bring down this peculiar little ritual. Cars got a little cheaper and a little more commonplace. More families had one car, and many families even started to have two cars. Driving a car was no longer so rare. But gasoline was still relatively expensive and in some places there were fuel restrictions, so driving was still a bit limited and some novelty remained. In addition, Sunday’s driving managed to retain a certain sentimental value for many families, which allowed the tradition to continue among many, but it was the beginning of the end.
And then the cars became better and even more affordable. Most homes became two car families. Teenagers even started to buy them. The sale of used cars passed through the roof. Only the poorest of the poor had no cars and probably saved on one. Every second person had a driving licence. Driving a car was as common as walking, all the more so as people now prefer to drive a car rather than walk. What was the starting point for Sunday driving when you could drive on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday? When can you drive in the morning or afternoon? When could you go alone instead of trying to squeeze into one car with three or four other people? Having a car meant freedom. Freedom from everything, including the outdated rituals that bound you to a family that was square and did not get you anyway.
Nowadays, even middle-income households can have up to three cars each. Many parents think it is normal to buy children a car for their eighteenth or twenty-first birthday. Many parents help their children finance their first cars. And still only the poorest of the poor who do not have cars and still probably save like crazy at one. Ask the little boy what he wants and it is probably a car. Their first toys are usually cars for good and never grow out of them.
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