Somehow on Sunday conversation with my aunty turned to my car. "I don't really consider myself a Ford Focus sort of person - too boring" quoth I. "No, I never really had you as a Ford Focus either" came the reply. In fact, rather more concerningly, my aunty had me down as a Porsche or a BMW - she clearly has me down as a flash, shiny sort of person, out to impress. This is not the sort of car I think I am. It is not the sort of car I thought my aunty thought I was. I laughed when she said BMW; I snorted when she said porsche. I am mildly offended.
All of which led me to thinking - exactly what sort of car am I? And are cars, like dogs, a good indicator of who you are - or of who you want to be - or of who you want to be seen to be?
Perhaps I really am a Ford Focus. I almost bought a Nissan Juke last year when my last Focus became and ex-Focus, but it seemed too frivolous, too showy-offy and it didn't have enough welly. And so I reverted to the trusty Focus. I wish I had bought the turbo diesel...I like the oomph, the quick acceleration out of a sticky situation, just as I like to deploy the smart retort, the clever, silver tongued argument to get me past the finish line.
Yes, it may be dull on the outside, but you can achieve a lot with a Ford Focus.
And if I'm not a Ford Focus what am I? Yes, this ladies and gentlemen is the sort of existential question that exercises us "soon-to-be-forty"s (six months and counting since you ask).
When I was a teen aspiring to drive I wanted a Morris Minor Traveller. Later, I wanted a Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet in white (I know, these are ideologically inconsistent but what can I say, teenagers eh?). What I got (for which I am truly grateful - thank you Dad) was a trusty Nissan Micra. It did the job very well for many long years, even though you had to plan and commence flooring it a mile before a big hill and do the whole hill in 2nd gear to make it to the top. And it went round even the gentlest corner like it was on two wheels. I grew to love my micra, but it never was cool or sexy.
And let's face it, nor is a Focus.
Sometimes, when needs must, I borrow my husband's boat-car. It's a Mercedes but not as we know it, Jim. Everything that can fall of it has fallen off it. It's the kind of Mercedes that Mercedes were so embarrassed by they discontinued it after 3 years. And we only bought it to accommodate our oversized wolfhound who has now, rather selfishly after such an investment, become an ex-wolfhound. It is basically a van with seats in the back and a turning circle the size of an ocean liner. No, I am not a Mercedes - and I am especially NOT that Mercedes.
Sometimes, when the family car swapping hobby gets complicated, I end up borrowing the old MX5 from my dad. On those days I pretend to be a glamorous lawyer, swanking about swinging my handbag like an idiot. But I can only sustain it for a day 'cos the clutch gives me cramp in my foot and there is nowhere to stand my coffee cup or drape my jacket. And the roof leaks.
No. I like my cup holder, my bluetooth phone thingmabob, my capacious suitcase sized boot and fuel efficiency. It gets me where I want to go and it does it well. If cars are like dogs are like people that ain't too bad. I must embrace the Focus. I must learn to love what I see in the mirror.