Monday 6 August 2007

Is this goodbye, old friend?

Does anybody else out there feel the same as me? Or is it just a girl thing? We make the mistake of becoming too emotionally attached to our car, and even give them names. I can still remember the registration number of my first ever vehicle way back in the late 70s. Now, he could be a bit contrary really – he adopted the charm of stalling when it rained and would then only allow me to go in second gear until it stopped and he dried out again. He used to break down in the most awkward places too (for example as I tried to cross the opposite lane of busy dual-carriageway traffic just as the traffic lights down the road went from red to green) – many a time I used to be pushing him to the side of the road at gone midnight on the way back from my boyfriend’s house. Everyone used to just stare – not stop to help mind you – just stare. A white knuckle ride on many an occasion with him I can tell you! (Woody, the Mini Clubman - not the boyfriend, but then again).

There were others in between – all loved of course, with their own little idiosyncrasies that I grew accustomed to over the period I had them, and although these may have been annoying at the time, I soon forgot and was sorry when they had to leave.

What is it, then, about your own car?

Over the years, Pru is that little bit of independence that I have come to rely upon when I have just needed to get away from everybody. She has shared the road trips with me (obviously!) with all their excitement and trepidation. She never complains when I listen to Slipknot at full belt along the motorway. A car becomes an indescribable part of you in a way that nothing else can, especially when it has served you well after travelling upon miles and miles of tarmac, with no real complaint. Perhaps, in those years long since past, it would have been your horse that took you everywhere, and, if you were a kindly owner, you treated it like a member of the family. You patted it when it did well, and you cursed it when it behaved like an ass – so it is with a car.

I have made many long journeys on my own in my little Rover Metro – she never let me down. Yes, of course, she played up on cold mornings sometimes, and most recently has suffered from eternal flat battery syndrome, but then she is an old lady now. She has sprung leaks where she really shouldn’t (petrol tank) and other things have gone 'ping'. But ... on those long, lonely journeys to and from Devon on the A14, M6, M42 and M5 she never let me down. She has become a dear friend and something of an agony aunt – she has listened to me ranting about things that have upset me as I have driven along, she has suffered me screaming in rage at those times that I do let it all out. She has kept my confidence – what personal thoughts are divulged in the confines of her five doors are between her and me alone.

Yeah, yeah – it is only a car but … it was MOT day today and now I have a hard decision to make.


Jon Downes said...

My darling. Not for the first timr, one of your pieces of writing has moved me to tears. My writing can only provoke belly laughs. THAT is why you are a much better writer than I am, and one of the reasons I love you

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps, sweetie, that it would be better to get a few belly laughs once in a while! The tissue bill is getting rather expensive lol.