Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cars & Coulrophobia

Just when I thought hoped that I had seen it all ....

The other day, as I was walking down Avenue Follow-the-Leader in Agdal, I passed a parked car - or rather, a car that had just pulled over to the curb. The car was one of those ubiquitous tiny white cars that you see careening about town - about the same size as a petit taxi and certainly smaller - for my non-Moroccan readers - than a 2-door Honda Civic hatchback, circa 1990. There seemed to be quite a bit of movement happening from within and then I realised that the tiny car's occupants were trying to extricate themselves from the vehicle. My curiosity was piqued so I looked closer.

There were 7 children and 3 adults in the car. Plus the driver. I counted. That makes 11, according to my reckoning. Eleven.

I stopped and stared. It is quite likely that my mouth gaped open. In fact, I would lay odds on it. Oddly, I had no compunction against such an open show of rudeness on my part, but then again, this morning I stole a magazine from my hairdresser's because I finally found a photo of a cut that I like. My standards are slipping shamelessly.

So, I watched as the adults and children indulged in some sort of vehicular limbo dance as bodies swerved, behinds slid over, and various body parts of several children were ejected from the windows. After a few minutes of this, a woman emerged and the tiny car went on its way.

Is it even worth my time to comment on the fact that I believe, even in Morocco, it is probably illegal for a car the size of Barbie's Mustang convertible to carry 11 individuals? Probably not. Childseats? Well, on the subject of the legality of installing (and using) childseats here, I haven't a clue: a cursory foray onto the web yielded no such legislation. If there is such a law (and I'd like to hope that there is), I haven't seen any safety seats in use, but then again, I don't tend to peer into cars unless I see 11 goddamn people intertwined within.

What really irked me is that it got me thinking about clowns. I don't like clowns. Well, not don't like exactly but really really hate them. Monkeys too but that's another post. So this freakish little car made me think about clowns and now I'm all in a dither because I really really hate clowns. And possibly afraid of them. There's even a name for it: an extreme fear (and I would add 'hatred') of clowns is known as coulrophobia. Try as I might, I can't make a connection to any childhood trauma that may have triggered such intense feelings in me, but I think it stems from the fact that I am an intelligent sentient human being and only really weird people like clowns.

Clowns are duplicitous by nature and generally maniacal in demeanour. In a word: creepy. What's lurking behind that greasy clown makeup besides big pores? - evil thoughts! And who the hell paints sad woebegone expressions and seeping tears on their faces? - people with deep-seated emotional problems. How will a weeping clown cheer me up? How is this entertaining? How, I ask you? I can't help but think of American serial killer extraordinaire John Gacy, who entertained children as a clown and spent many of his pre-execution hours drawing & painting said creatures. It is not surprising then that the evil clown motif is legion in Hollywood. So, imagine my delight to find that I am not alone (although my husband & brother share my fear/loathing): Ihate

Feel free to log onto the site and buy me a "Can't sleep, clowns will eat me" t-shirt. I'm a size small. Any colour but blue.

In the meantime, I can't seem to exorcise these clown visions from my febrile imagination. Evil evil clowns. All this because a couple of women with shit for brains had to risk their children's lives by cramming them into a car. And I had to see it. Jeeeeez.

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