Epistemic #53

On the road again

I must’ve been sick the day they taught us all to fall in love with new cars. I’ve never really understood the allure of buying one. My first car was already 18 by the time it pulled into my driveway. The newest one--by a long shot--was 6.

My current car is a teenager, and I’m only one step removed from manual widows and a tape deck.

When I was young, “how fast?” was usually the only question I asked. If there was a second, it might’ve been, “how loud is the stereo?’ But that was it.

These days, the questions are different, but the list is still short:

Does it start?

Can it get me from Point A to Point B in the middle of a Midwest winter?

Will it do it without ejecting parts all over the road?

As long as the answers are Yes/Yes/Yes, I’m good.

And so it was with fascination that I watched this short film about the Lada- the lovable loser of the automobile world. They’re prolific in Russia. But even in that part of the world, people have learned to chase bigger! faster! more!

In the same way that cars in the United States migrate from cities and the wealthy to more rural areas (and/or teenagers), in Russia, the cars slowly migrate east and northward towards smaller towns, where they’ll run out their lives.

In my case, the automobile replaced a bicycle. In the village, the old car is replacing a horse.

Where Soviet Cars Go to Not Quite Die – Driving Adventures in Northern Russia (19mins)

Directed by Dieter Deswarte via Aeon


Much like me, the people observed in this film don’t ascribe anything more to the car than its essential function. To get to a family outing. To learn to drive. To deliver you to a night out with friends and then back home.

And like me, the answers aren’t always yes yes yes, but that’s the price you pay for a car that’s already used 8 of its 9 lives.

Thanks for being here,


P.S. What’s your take? Do you run your cars until the wheels fall off or upgrade early and often? Depending on where this finds you, is owning a car even necessary for you?

P.P.S. When you’re ready to add some variety to your information diet, start here.