The Knight Bus in Harry Potter, a homonym of “night”, appeared whenever a witch or wizard was in urgent need of transportation. Harry inadvertently teleported the bus, too spooked to take the Portkey (Wizard’s porthole or gateway) to the Leaky Cauldron. If more people would hop on buses and broomsticks in California, instead of cars, it would go a long way towards reduction of carbon footprint especially since floo power and gas prices are at a premium.
WFH has been a trend since pandemic. Many have been working online even before then. Only the pandemic made it more of a norm. While office goers unanimously resented having to wear a suit and tie or high heeled shoes, many continued with their discontent even after the suit or heels were replaced by sensible wearables. Many thought they would make better pet and plant owners relieved of the drudgery of binding office hours. Others could swear on being better parents. Although presented with the opportunity, many were surprised at the unexpected outcomes – both good and let’s say, unexpected. The annoyance of having toddlers or young children making demands in the middle of a conference call. Constantly sharing the same space with a significant other, many were rubbed the wrong way and craved greater personal space. Some, and I’d say quite a few, truly missed the excuse of work that allowed a general umbrella of legitimacy to pursuits of unsanctioned escapades!
I’m a Mobile
Mobility is essential for most of us to thrive. Even though, come to think of it, may be prioritized differently. The unsaid stigma that exists in taking public transportation in California is perhaps ubiquitous. Although a joyride in the trolly is totally another matter. Here you are supposed to stand on the side steps holding on to handrails. A fellow passenger might decide to sit on the seat where you might have sat, if you weren’t standing. Thereby breaking all codes of personal space, peaking under your armpit to catch a shot of the passing city. The old trolly, albeit well maintained, rolls up and down the hills leaving sites of monumental buildings such as distinguished embassies adorned by flags of many colors from many countries, flanked by manicured parks with fountains and glorious churches that are hardly ever spoken of. The conductor rings the bell from time to time to alert passing cars and pedestrians.
Marketing theorist Phillip Cotler described needs as “felt inadequacy”. Needs, individual and collective describe a person. When it comes to transportation, the need for mobility is the same for one and all. Whether people move about in a shared vehicle or an individual one. The distinction is essentially that of purchasing power. It is easy to overlook while making such distinctions, that it is the vehicle for a joyride that defies all distinctions of form and function. Invariably the coolest, serving absolutely no purpose at all! Like the trolly car or the Bugatti or Hennessey Venom. Whoever rode to work in any one of those babies?! Those are essentially toys. Albeit expensive ones, but like the old trolly, their value lies in the spirit of play that we all share. Is it then the use of a product driven by need, that is hierarchically insufficient to that which is not? If we were to flip Cotler’s theory on its head, ignoring “felt inadequacy”, seeking “felt abundance”, would we then consider all our vehicles and our needs differently?