A couple of weeks ago I was listening to the Film programme on Radio 4 while I was driving home from college. It was a Friday afternoon, which is my favourite moment of the week as it is the end of my official working week. Tomorrow it is Saturday. On the programme, presenter Francine Stock was talking to the famous French film director Claude Lelouch. He was describing how he did not have a building as an office but that he recognised his car as his office. He might work in a public place but separate from it and other people. He had all his materials he needed; notebooks, pens, phone, and newspapers. He could move it around and have a different view every time. It was generally warm if you parked in the sun. You could listen to music or discussions on the radio.
I enjoyed thinking about his idea. I believe that most of us probably think of our cars as extensions to our homes, work, and our lives. We do not just travel from point to point, we listen to music, we talk to other people who are sitting beside us and not in front, and we have conversations with people sitting in the back through the rear view mirror. Lelouch deduced that you could break up with your girlfriend more easily in your car as you were not facing her, and driving at the same time. I sometimes use my car as an office; I take my laptop and drive either to a lay-by outside Inverbervie, and sit there parallel to the North Sea, looking over Gourdon. Its usually bright and quiet and the cars pass by quickly and leave blank spaces. I also take the car into Stonehaven and park head-on to the sea, at the parking area in front of Molly’s café and the Beach amusement arcade. This is a good place to work. My laptop battery can last for 1 hour and thirty-eight minutes, which is enough time to write and get ideas down. Other people walk by but never stop and wonder what you are doing. There are always some other cars with travelling salesmen passing time before a meeting or busy working on a report or invoice. Alternatively, maybe some are recently unemployed, and need to go out and look like they are working.
On Wednesday, I heard a distressing story on the radio about a young woman called Sarah from Watford who recently lost her job and was so distressed about it that she would get up in the morning and travel into her town to just keep busy, save face and not be afraid of not getting her life back. Maybe it would be good if she had a car to treat as her work place, using it as her office, travelling around parking up, being in public, but nobody needing to know her circumstances. She needs a car to be her office.