Sunday, August 10, 2008

Corollas are slightly cool

After watching several episodes of Top Gear and listening to Jeremy Clarkson espouse the coolness of Aston Martins and Zondas, Climber began to question us: Toyotas are quite cool, aren't they? Umm, no sorry sweetie. But Toyota Corollas like ours, they're a bit cool? I'm regretful and Fixit is chortling. Nay, scoffing. No sweetie, sorry, definitely not. It's a really good car for getting a tricky carpark, it's reliable and easy to drive, but erm .. no darling, not cool. Climber takes it quite well. Like me, he has an emotional attachment to good old Claude Corolla and has been known to get a bit tearful at the prospect of selling it for a station-wagon (still on our to-do list) so maybe he doesn't really believe us. Deep down, I'm not actually convinced that I believe us, because I thought my car was way cool when I first bought it and not just because it had an FBI licence plate. I mean, look, is that the face of a chick who's just brought home an uncool car? I think not. Ten years later, my opinion hasn't changed that much. Climber may have picked up on this, the fact that I don't care what Clarkson thinks. Or Fixit, come to that.

Being cool, it's so subjective. I didn't think that I was at all cool in high school - too scrawny, too fair-skinned, too red-headed, and a teacher's pet and A-grade student to boot. But then, I know my stocks went up after each performance in the school plays, so maybe I was cooler than I thought. These days I think why on earth would I care whether the bogans at my high school thought I was cool, what sort of recommendation would that be? See? Subjective. I'm at peace with my personal level of coolth these days. To some people I might look a bit cool, to others I'm a hopeless loser. What can you do? I yam what I yam. I'm pretty happy in my own skin these days, I generally like where my life is at, and only fear the derision of others once a month when the hormones take over.

At a time when I might have been expected to abandon pretensions to coolness because cool is for the young and hip, the whole issue is cropping up again. At least this time I'm not a hormonal teenager wondering if I'll ever get a boyfriend and having meltdowns because I'm wearing the wrong style of trousers to school. This time, I'm a mother to a boy who is beginning to grapple with the whole concept and this means I can just observe it, I don't have to live it. Also, my cool stakes, as far as the Climber is concerned, are just about as good as they'll ever be. He's still young enough to think Fixit and I are the duck's guts, doesn't really matter what we do.

Pyjama B0y_6399

Climber likes the concept of cool. And popularity, too. He is starting to aspire to coolness. Actually, I think (in my objective and unbiased way) that Climber is already quite the cool dude, with his shaggy blonde good looks and his laid back charm, and the way he carries off a size 4 teddy-bear dressing gown in Grade 2 on Pyjama Day. But he is just starting to sort all this out for himself. Thankfully, the fact that he now knows there is such a thing as being cool (and therefore also uncool) has not wrought any actual changes in him; he does not modify his appearance or his behaviour or his belongings in any way to improve his popularity or his image, unlike some of his peers. He's just thinking about it all. He is still young enough to adore his parents and does not see us as embarrassments and potential life ruiners. He knows I have a tap website and a blog, and that people visit and comment on my blog and he says you're quite popular, aren't you? with this look, almost pride in his eyes. I suspect he confuses web presence with, say, being in the newspaper or on television, but meantime, take heart you cool and popular bloggers, you! And let's see if he still thinks my blog is cool in seven years time, when I start telling the world about his teenage love life.

Recently, we had the Climber's best friend from school over, and when he went home he told his mother that he wanted to live at our place because it was so cool. His poor mother started to get a bit miffed after a while and told me she'd resorted to painting me as a very mean parental figure indeed to burst his bubble: Caroline's very strict, you know! And you'd never get to drink lemonade there! He weighed it up and announced that he was prepared to give up lemonade if only he could live at Climber's house. I don't take credit for the perceived coolness at our place, I know in his eyes it is due to Climber's presence and Climber's toys. Our house could never pass for cool in a grown-up's eye. It is a scruffy rental, full of flaws. We have second-hand, mismatched furniture which could never be gussied up for a style feature, not even one that advocated scruffy, mismatched décor. Our storage solutions are hopeless and bursting at the seams and I am a reluctant housewife, our walls are covered in laminated artworks by the children and alphabet charts. But Climber's friend loved it here, and now his mother is wondering what's wrong with her house. (Nothing, it's lovely, I've checked.)

So there you go. Cool: it's all in the eyes of the beholder. Just when I was starting to feel old and irrelevant, along came a couple of 7 year-old boys to make me think I'm really ace. And as for poor uncool Claude Corolla, don't you go listening to the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, because the Cherub announced this week he is going to give the new splat t-rex bike a name. He's calling it Toyota.


  1. Grade 2 and he still thinks you're the duck's guts? My kid is 19 bloody months and he's been looking at us with tired teenage expressions for ages. He sighs at us.

    Also, your Corolla is way cool AND convenient in a tight parking spot. My '89 Cressida, on the other hand, had better be uni student cool because it has no other convenient features. The power steering fluid leaks so it's hopeless to park.

  2. good post - I guess you found that mojo

  3. Aw, too young for cool! Surely! I reckon as long as he still dances you've still got him... ;)

  4. You are SO TOTALLY cool!

    I think it's great that Climber is thinking about it, and making his own definition and decision of coolness and whether or not it matters.

    Corolla's are GREAT! Now stationwagons? Not so cool. ;)

  5. Oh, yeah. Sueeeus is right.

    And minivans -- and we own one, a "nice" one at that -- THAT's wildly uncool.


    PS Problem was you spent your youth in the wrong corner of the world. Ovah heah lean redheads are pretty much royalty.

  6. So many interesting thoughts here.

    I suspect that part of the reason Climber's friend loves your home is because of things like second-hand furniture. It's a house full of love, a place one can relax in, rather than a showplace where one mustn't walk on the couch et cetera.

    Toyotas are the ultimate in cool, at least according to my gearhead spouse. (He admires a well-turned fender and croons at MR2 Spyders the way other men eye women's legs, busts and rumps.)

  7. I'd give up lemonade for you. If I drank lemonade very often that would be a great sacrifice.

    Kids get cool. They know it's not about clothes or things money can buy. It's all about the fun.

  8. Being a teacher,I know cool and you're cool.

    I love the struggle to find 'cool'. For me it was always how 'quirky' can you be? I didn't realise that it was my struggle until this year! Imagine all those years of trying to be cool when really I was quirky......

    Loved your post.

  9. You are VERY cool, SG. And this is a very cool post.

  10. What a great post. It'll be with me all day.

    Despite the pre pubescent moaning and groaning from Will, our three , whilst not necessarily thinking we are cool, are certainly not at the stage where we embarrass them.

    And I loved Joke's comment about lean redheads being royalty. My best friend is a redhead..

  11. Well, if 7 year olds think you're cool you must be. I wish 7 year olds would think I'm cool. My kids think I'm kooky. PL will still let me give him a kiss at the school gate. Just. Blossom - no way.

    The FBI number plate is excellent. You MUST keep it. I'm sure it would pass the Kristin Scott-Thomas test.

  12. You know Toyota Corollas can be stationwagons too, I know cause I used to have one. It was born the same year as me, and it was way cool.

    Oh and littlest Monkey is with me, and she has a comment too, she can't read, but she likes the picture. "My love Climber"

  13. Cool post! Pre-school cool is creeping into Parker's vocab, EVERY sentance starts and ends with a very quick 'eww'!

  14. For sooth, the beholders giveth and they taketh away. They might be lulling you into a false sense of security only to pull thy rug of coolth from under you.


  15. And yet, as I read, my own stomach was knotting, as it already does when MC said to the others this week :"Hey kids, lets all dance!", as he flipped on Justine Clarke and started to boogie. He was either ignored, or looked at like he was a giant dancing turd.

    This happens often. I personally think MC is *cooler* than the other non-sharing, one-dimensional children, but he doesn't get how they wouldn't want to dance, perhaps they just didn't hear him, perhaps he should ask again, or show them how to do it ?

    I can't go through it ( school )again *wah* ! My baby, my baby ! ...

    But you ?
    you're cool.

    Despite being a bit of a geek :p

  16. Ah Stomper - with your tap shoes, elegant hats and your sparkling purple gear you will always be cool in the 7 year old market!

    Pretty good in the over 40s too...

  17. Corolla is definitely cool. I had my 1977 corolla for 12 fabulous years.

    The naming of the bike is pretty classic!

  18. yeah, you're cool.

    I think one can rock a corolla, just like a commodore...

  19. You are a red-head and that is a whole other level of cool. At least, it is in my book.

  20. Hi there! Thanks for stopping past our blog (and our shop windows too!!) We are always changing them so watch this space!

  21. What a gorgeous little guy. He oozes cool. I was not one of the cool ones in high school. But then, I didn't have an FBI plate.

  22. I think Corollas are just as cool as the next car. But I don't actually think any cars are particularly cool. Which probably makes me very uncool...

    Coolness. It's a minefield.

  23. I just have to say - using the terms 'coolth' and 'duck's guts' in one blog post is so cool!


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