I’VE tried really hard to play it cool. After all, excitement of the can’t-keep-still variety is for children, isn’t it? Grown-ups are patient people and are supposed to take things in their stride.
But I’m rather embarrassed to admit that I really am very, very excited and I can’t wait for Thursday. No, it’s not an early visit from Father Christmas that’s got me all of a dither – Thursday’s the day I collect my new car.
Well, when I say ‘new’, I don’t mean actually new in the ‘straight from the factory’ sense of new; I mean new to me. It’s actually been new to several other people during the five years it has been in existence.
I know it’s a bit sad but changing my car really is one of the diminishing number of events that can be guaranteed to put a smile on my face. Goodness knows how I’d feel if I was ever in a position to go and splash big money on a brand new, shiny supercar with a waiting list of mega-wealthy potential buyers. I’d probably need heavy sedation and a darkened room.
My sense of glorious anticipation, however, is tempered by the knowledge that I must say a sad farewell to the car that has been my transport and my delight for five years. I have never before owned a car for that long, which illustrates how much I have liked it and how choked I am going to be to part with it.
We’ve had some good times together – although not many, now I come to think of it – and it has hardly ever let me down. It has carried me in swift and reliable comfort to all corners of the land, while I, in turn, have treated it with love and respect.
It is a stranger to supermarket car parks, has done most of its miles on nice, smooth, fast roads; it has only ever been fed the finest fuel; when it’s dirty I clean it. It’s even got an affectionate nick-name, although I’m not going to reveal it on the grounds of totally humiliating myself.
Now, though, the time has come when he (yes, my car is a ‘he’) has arrived at that stage when the squeaks and rattles are louder than the sweet note of the engine, when funny little warning lights pop on and off at odd times, and when the bloke at the garage reckons there are some very big bills just around the next corner.
So someone else can deal with the big bills. I’m trading him in on a newer model that’s got all sorts of fancy tricks, such as a CD player (yes, I know everyone else has had one for years) and an on-board computer. And I’m taking delivery on Thursday.
My old car is going as a trade-in. The garage will oil his squeaks, tighten his rattles, fix whatever else needs fixing, polish him and preen him and put him on their forecourt where some total stranger will come along and buy him and probably ill-treat him and use him to go to the shops and put nasty cheap petrol in him . . .
I know, I know. He’s only an inanimate object and I mustn’t get too emotional about his departure. But one thing’s for sure – I won’t be able to drive past that forecourt again until I’m absolutely certain that my old car has gone. Even grown-ups have feelings, you know.