Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some f***er kicked my car! Why?

This is not a great photo, but you can probably make it out. I noticed the other day that my driver's side rear door is now carrying a dent and a shoeprint. Someone, unbeknownst to me, has aimed a solid kick at my car.

No it certainly wasn't while I was in the car. I don't know exactly when it happened, because it's not really obvious unless the lighting is right. So there's no obvious explanation for why this would happen. I don't think I have any enemies, and don't think I've done anything to piss anyone off recently.

Given that this hasn't been the first instance of vandalism my trusty automobile has endured recently, it could give me cause to get paranoid here. Particularly as the previous vandalism was someone scrawling "WHITE POWER" on my car.

And it was only a couple of months ago that a couple of teenagers walking past at night broke off a piece of my fence and that of my next door neighbours. (I know they were teenage boys because I saw them high-tailing it afterwards.)

But rather than think that someone is out to get me, I'm guessing it's just the price I have to pay for living on a main road where plenty of people walk past my front gate. And of course, living in a society where petty vandalism is almost a right of passage for some young people.

Now, this doesn't seem to be the sort of thing that happens in third-world countries. There is plenty of theft of course - you can't leave anything lying around in Indonesia, for instance. I myself have been pickpocketed in Indonesia once before (at a market in Yogyakarta.) And while being pickpocketed was violating and upsetting, there is something about the shoeprint on my car that saddens me even more.

Countries like Indonesia are poor, and while I certainly deplore the theft that occurs there, I can understand why it happens. But what prompts someone in a wealthy country to decide they will randomly damage the property of someone they don't know? There may be a financial loss for the victim, but certainly there is no material gain involved for the perpetrator.

Of course, it's not that hard to understand. In my younger days before I became really active in sports, I got in a bit of trouble here and there. My friends at the time weren't really what you would call "a bad crowd", but we got up to mischief. Shoplifting, knocking on people's doors at night, smashing the occasional letterbox, letting down people's tyres. I was caught shoplifting at age 12 and put on probation, which put an end to any potential life of crime I may have had. But still hanging out with those same people meant that I saw a lot of that stuff happening around me, even if I was no longer an active participant.

The point is that I know exactly why people do this. It's the feeling of toughness and power. By committing an illegal act and getting away with it, I was demonstrating to myself and others that I was bigger and better than whatever rules society had devised to try and constrain me. I stole small things I didn't even want or need, just for the thrill and the feeling of power it gave me. It's the same feeling that prompts many guys to act like gangstas and get into street brawls with little provocation. I was never a fighter - I was small and none-too-tough at the time - but I still indulged in a bit of minor bullying. It brings the same kind of psychological rewards.

In my mid-teens, I became more and more involved in sports - cricket, tennis, basketball, badminton. And it gave me an avenue to attain those feelings of power and achievement, which so many males crave, through sporting victory. Putting oneself to the test, to strive to achieve the best results for yourself, and against competitors. I can't say for sure, but I think this is one of the reasons I didn't get involved in too much negativity in my teens. (Or you could say that I just got smarter. Or that I was too much of a pussy to be a badass. Both would be true.)

So back to my car. To me, it's not a huge amount of damage, but it's symbolic of a sickness in our society. I work with young people and love what they have to offer - their energy, their enthusiasm, their potential - yet I feel like we as a society are not giving them the best ways to channel their talents. Hopefully they will feel part of society, rather than having to define their identity by their opposition to society. The impulse that led someone to kick my car is the same sort of impulse that leads someone to kick someone's head in. Very different results, but symptomatic of the same negativity towards their fellow man.

Theft in a poor country is primarily a consequence of poverty. Mindless vandalism in a rich country is surely more about the poverty of the soul.


  1. Looking at the "White Power" thing, wasn't your blog recently invaded by the Stormfront/Bolt blog crowd? But the "White Power" scrawling occurred last year, when you were probably not so much in their bad books yet.

  2. Anonymous, are you trying instill paranoia in me?

    Or are you implying that Andrew Bolt did it?

    Tis ok. I can take him.

  3. No, I'm not trying to instill paranoia; merely trying to discern any causal relationship, that's all. :) No, Andrew Bolt wouldn't do it himself, of course. But it's conceivable that the type of people he inspires could. Naturally, the distance between scrawling something or kicking a car door and actually doing some physical harm to you is quite wide, and I don't expect that you should need to start worrying about that occurring in Australia quite yet. But the Stormfront crowd seems energized (they know of you) and one wonders where things may head.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. LOL! Hahahah! Suck shit ass-hole!
    I used to do such acts, after being provoked. Like a dumb arrogant obnoxious fool stole my car park in Knox City, when I was running late to meet friends for a movie. So I let his tires down - fully!
    Another incident, or more suitably reffered to as occurance, was when a curry-muncher refused to sell me and a friend cigarettes after we walked to the 7-eleven in the middle of the night. So we jumped on his roof, till it caved in. Then smashed his windscreen, and poured flour into his car. Finally sealed it off by urinating. Unfortunately neither of us could summon the necessary ingredients of a stray turd or two. (At the time, besides it was pretty damn cold. And it would be to risky taking the time to shit on a car, especially when the video cams were watching us:)

  6. @ Peter: I'd really prefer to think of it as a random event! Otherwise I'm not going to sleep comfortably at night.

    @ Rhythmicmomentum: Are you in a provocative mood today? No need for racial epithets please. It worries me that you sound really proud of your previous behaviour. Maybe you need Jesus.

  7. Just stirring the pot a bit. I'm not racist, I love hot Sri Lankin girls!
    And I love curry. That makes me a cuury muncher too.