We all know Karen*. She lives in all the leafy suburbs around Cape Town, is a member of every community group on Facebook and of course is a big supporter of the neighbourhood watch – as long as she doesn’t have to join in and actually go on patrol or do anything.
You will often see her walking the aisles of Woolies Food in her “active wear”, buying health food and hoping that everyone thinks she just came from the Virgin Active. Meanwhile the sheen on her forehead is not sweat but rather condensation from hovering her face over her cup of Soya Milk Latte from the McDonalds Café… which she has poured into a Starbucks cup with her name written on it.
She wears far too much makeup, dresses 10 years younger than her actual age (and 2 sizes smaller) and drives the biggest SUV her credit score will allow. Karen loves 4 things more than life itself: maintaining her status and image, idle gossip that makes her feel better about herself, her Pilates instructor (but that’s another story), and above everything – Karen loves a good rant on social media.
Being super active on every social media platform on the planet, Karen would have no doubt seen the images of a crashed McLaren supercar that was spotted racing a “red Ferrari” (actually a Lamborghini) through various areas of Cape Town. Karen hates socially irresponsible driving and these damn car nuts who think that their fancy cars are a license to use public roads as their own personal race tracks. As such she would no doubt have written numerous posts on the subject spouting venom and vitriol at all car-obsessed “boys with small-man syndrome”.
The problem here is that Karen, not being of a petrol-headed nature herself, doesn’t understand that even the petrolhead community have unleashed fury and ridicule at the idiotic nature of the crash in question. We condemn in the strongest terms using public roads as race tracks. After all, the roads are where we go to enjoy our cars, and if these Napoleon-Complexed road racers are out there trying to show off and impress people, we are far less likely to enjoy ourselves and far more likely to be the victim in one of their many accidents.
Unfortunately social media, and in fact pretty much every form of media, fails to report on the peaceful, fun breakfast runs that we all go on. There’s no news-worthy story when a group of petrolheads get together to drive somewhere safely and have a meal. When we do open the taps a little, it would be on an open and most likely empty stretch of road, so no-one would even be there to report on it.
Truth be told, as much as Karen hates us, we are probably some of the safest drivers on the road… not all car guys are over-compensating McLaren-racing clowns.
Karen paints us all with the same brush because she has no qualms about ranting all over social media on topics she doesn’t fully understand. But worse still, Karen is actually a little bit of a hypocrite.
Karen’s SUV can often be seen running stop signs, going the wrong way down a one-way street, screaming past the school at twice the speed limit and shoving its way through traffic with reckless abandon.
Then on weekends, she’ll park it in the fast lane or on a nice mountain pass, deliberately holding up anyone in a nice sporty car, because how DARE they have fun!?
Since Karen’s public image relies on her appearing extremely busy, she is always in a rush everywhere and that SUV gets driven like a speed demon is at the wheel – exactly the kind of behaviour that SUVs aren’t designed for.
The solution is simple – Karen, and other petrolhead-haters, need to be educated so that they understand that we are not all boy-racers trying to prove our testicular fortitude through the application of excessive speed. Most of us are car-, or perhaps more accurately, driving-enthusiasts. We have a genuine interest in making our roads safer for all. We are not just out there to show off and annoy people with total disregard for other road users.
We just happen to have an incurable love for our cars and for driving them.
Sadly, Karen won’t be reading this, because Karen would never understand just how wonderful the right group of petrolheads can be.
*Not her real name and we really feel sorry for any cool Karens who have been painted with this brush by the world of social media