An Old Car in My Neighbourhood

Neighbourhoods are great. The longer you stay in them the longer you become accustomed to the way life is lived there. You find more and more unique and interesting aspects that make your neighbourhood stand out more. One thing about living anywhere, but especially in Korea, is that when you fly through a neighbourhood you are frequently only presented with a shell of where it is you are passing. When you spend a little time there, you get a better feel for that place and you can appreciate it more.

Take Yeongtong-dong. The shell of Yeongtong-dong is very familiar to anyone who has lived in Korea for any decent amount of time. It is full with highrise apartments surrounding a central business area where shops, restaurants, and assorted offices and schools dominate in an electric and frantic bustle. If you go through the middle of Yeongtong you get the impression that everything here is done in a rush, but once you step away from here, the pace does slow down a little.

I’ve walked around this neighbourhood with Herself on plenty of occasions. Our little adventures have revealed many delights that we probably would have missed if we drove. These little delights though are probably similar with many neighbourhoods, but the discovery of them has always been a personal experience which is probably why I have enjoyed finding them.

One discovery which stands out is of an old car parked not to far from our own apartment. It’s a maroon or burgundy colour Jaguar with a vintage look about it. It’s parked in the carpark of our apartment complex and it has been there for at least the past year. Previously, I walked by it and didn’t really take much notice. I imagined that the driver drove it relatively regularly, and that no one would leave an nice old car like that just sitting in the car park perpetually. Why would they?

One day, as I was walking with Herself through the complex we met a young fella that Herself teaches from time to time. We passed the car together and Herself mentioned it to the young fella, who promptly told us that the car had always been there and he didn’t know who the owner was. We walked over and the young fella helped us examine it further.

The emblem of the leaping jaguar rising from the bonnet of the car was wrapped in plastic, perhaps to protect it from damage, and I could see through the windows that the car wasn’t used regularly from the the thick layer of mould and dust on the dashboard. That being said, the outside was relatively clean and there were no signs of any rust or damage. The young fella walked up to the door, pushed in the door lock button and pulled the handle, where the door opened easily . I’m not sure why I wasn’t more shocked than I was when he did this. Here was an unlocked vintage Jaguar parked in a nondescript car park in an apartment complex in a neighbourhood in Suwon. I’ve been in neighbourhoods all over Korea and I’ve never really seen anything like this before.

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In my last post about value, I spoke about how we recognise the value of things and why some things have different value than others. It was this car that inspired that post. To find this old car parked and untouched over such a long time is probably a good example of this understanding of value. I wonder if this was a different kind of car would it have been treated so carelessly? I wonder did the owner recognise the piece of machinery that had been somewhat discarded in the carpark? I wondered if this car could be brought back to life to be appreciated for what it was? But above all, I wondered why had this car just been parked here to seemingly wait for nothing to happen to it?

It’s not every day that you find something unique where you live, but then again wherever we are is always unique regardless of how much it looks like everywhere else. If I pointed out everything unique from where I live I would be here for a long time, but then I would detract from what is unique about everywhere else, which will never be my intention. When all is said and done though, knowing about these individual things around us and recognising them for what they are – be they peacefully situated in harmony with everything else or chaoctically upsetting the flow of things – adds to our own individual appreciation of our own situation. We cannot judge whether one place is better than the next, we can only judge whether or not we believe we are happy being in the place that we currently exist.

P.S. If anyone has any idea about the model or any other interesting information about this car, I would really appreciate your input.

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