Leaf and Nothingness: I recently rented a Nissan Leaf all-electric car. No gas engine, just silent, battery propulsion. It worked fine. It did everything it was supposed to do. It was just incredibly boring. Not just “doesn’t corner well” type of boring–though it doesn’t corner well–but boring in some corrosive, fundamental, existential way.
I’ve been trying to figure out why. I suspect the noise of an engine purring away–even intermittently, as in a Prius–makes any trip seem at least a bit important. You’re doing something! (Better keep an eye on that engine. It might explode.) Take away the noise and you somehow expose the emptiness of the entire enterprise. Why are you doing this again? Isn’t it just wasted time?
The late John Short, a college classmate, once wrote about how all your existential problems are solved when you’re driving somewhere. The Leaf is the car that finally disproves him.