Such truths only make it more strange that, once unleashed upon the world with a salary and pockets for it to burn holes into, I embarked upon satiating an apparent compulsion to purchase a succession of what we in England used to refer to as ‘sheds’. Sheds as in not very useful as cars, and frequently static. Sheds as in ugly, strange-smelling places. Sheds as in – on one troubling occasion – populated mostly by spiders and mice.
What I was doing, of course, was approaching the art of car buying from the wrong angle: desire. The first car I bought lasted less than two hours in my possession, and was returned to the dealership before it – and my horrified father - spontaneously combusted. But it looked good…I fell in love with my first permanent car because it too looked gorgeous, albeit in a 1970s way (so: not gorgeous at all). It took only two days to firstly break down and then - on the same day - run itself into a concrete bollard (a long story which I don’t have the space to include here; best buy my book then…). ’Twas an omen, my friends.
There then followed many years of appalling vehicular choices (punctuated by one glorious interlude which I naturally had to ruin by selling the darned thing for a stupid reason) and the disappearance of an alarming amount of money while I pursued my four-wheeled and two-wheeled urges. Rarely did I make a reasoned, sensible choice and even when I did, things tended to figuratively - and often literally - fall apart.
Middle age brought with it one last mighty spasm of automotive torture (an Audi) before things finally settled down a few years ago. Finally, I said to myself, I’ve served my time. I’ve at last arrived at a place where I have a car I enjoy and can have faith in. Like a fool, however, I’d reckoned without the cruel humour of the automotive gods. Like a blinkered idiot, I’d overlooked the demise of fossil fuels and its associated technology. The result is that after all this time and all those struggles with bruised knuckles, oily rags and wet driveways, I find myself staring down the barrel of the truth. Gasoline is dead. My beloved car – my all-time favourite – is obsolete.
As we used to say in England at such moments: bugger.