Opinion //

On the urge to key a luxury car

Pailey Wang has an appetite for destruction.

My place is on a corner, which means the side wall of my bedroom and my side fence back up to a couple of parking spots on the adjacent street. I got used to the noise, but the thing that really grinds my gears is when someone pulls up in a parking spot and idles their engine. There is something about that low vibratory rumble that you feel viscerally in your stomach, that wakes you up at 7am and pisses you off at 4 in the afternoon. The other day, I popped my head up over the fence line to see the car that pulled up. It happened to be a Porsche 911, convertible, racing yellow. The sight of it jerked me back to an urge that I have long held, long suppressed. 

The urge to key the fuck out of a luxury car.

Few people have ever understood this urge when I expressed it to them. It’s not a logical thing as far as I am concerned. Sure, I am against the propagation of the type of capitalist inequality that means some people can spend millions on status symbols whilst millions literally starve. However, I think trying to intellectualise this inhibition gives it too much credit. In reality, the political message would be unclear. Would the owner return to their Mercedes thinking ‘hmm, yes, a valid criticism of the hoarding of wealth’? Unlikely. It would probably be just a minor inconvenience, an annoyance in the life of the car’s owner. Perhaps that is why the concept is so enticing, if nothing else, the large depiction of a phallus that I might scratch into that fire-truck red Ferrari says a simple, ‘fuck you’. They might never fully grasp my nuanced critique, but perhaps that simple message is enough.

There are many exceptions of course. There are few cars that really instil this urge in me. It has to be a really upmarket vehicle, something for the 1% of the 1%. Glisteningly new, immaculately polished. It has to loudly proclaim its exorbitance to the entire street; a bright colour helps. I wouldn’t scratch a vintage sports car, maybe it is a status symbol too, but it hints at an appreciation of an object’s history that I would prefer didn’t exist in my victim’s tastes. Even the shiniest Tesla Roadster wouldn’t suffice, too much of a social conscience. Not clean enough, new enough; they really have to be riding the crest of the metaphorical wave of capitalist exploitation.

In the end though, I never do it. I’m too chicken-shit. What if they catch me? Someone with that much money could surely ruin my life if they see fit. I’ve never even pulled my keys out of my pocket, holding them in a closed fist, the point subtly sticking out between my knuckles. It’s too risky. But I’ve always had the fantasy.

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