Sunday, September 4, 2011

His and Hearse; Going Out In Style

recent model Cadillac SUVthe Cadillac Escalade hearse is very similar to the big black Cadillacs people use for getting to work and shopping

I've noticed an awful lot of those bulky Cadillac Escalades around the city. In spite of their scale and capacity, inevitably they are occupied by only the driver.

The trend has been around for a few years, but a great many of these vehicles continue to be black. For the past 50 years that I've been around, "black Cadillac station wagon" has been synonymous with "hearse." Personally, having the choice, I would prefer not to be transported in one of these hearses, but perhaps my sensibility is overly delicate.

Apart from that, I am amazed that the drivers of these large vehicles seem to be unaware of any environmental impact in terms of manufacturing, fuel consumption, dissipation of heat, and wear and tear on roads. They also take up a lot of unnecessary space in a crowded world. I am at a loss to understand why people wish to make such grand statements at a time when more than ever, we must be aware of preserving resources and space.

Recently I watched the wonderful 1962 film, "The Light in the Piazza," with Olivia de Havilland. In one scene, she is driving along a verdant country road in Italy with Rossano Brazzi. The little Italian two seater convertible (perhaps a Fiat or Lancia) was incredibly chic, and almost humorously diminutive. In the film, these two characters are wealthy and worldly, and yet they looked stylish in what looked almost as tiny as a Smart Car.

What happened to modesty and charm in how we present ourselves in dress, deportment, transportation, and habitation? What happened to any sort of conscience in terms of caring for others and the world we live in?

Perhaps the drivers of black Cadillac Escalades and similar behemoths feel that they are going out in style. Personally, I'll leave the journey in the black hearse until my last earthly ride.