Today is Valentine’s Day so, this morning, my Citroen is booked in for a top of the range full valet.
In the afternoon I’ll top up all the fluids and change the air freshener. Late afternoon we will go out together, her and me. There’s a little place off the A3 we’ll pull off into, and we’ll just sit together and, as dusk falls, we’ll recall the past 20 glorious years we’ve spent together. And later, maybe …….
Of course, the reality is that my car will likely spend today parked outside my house, ignored, in whatever weather is thrown at it, unless I decide to do take it to Tescos. I did take it to the car wash last weekend, long overdue, and also drove to Beckenham and back. It was nice to drive it after a few weeks and it reminded me how much I like it. I like my car, I really like it. I sit in it and I am pleased that I still have it.
In fact, I can’t think of another car I’d swap it for. If I had to sell it, I’d be disappointed …. but I wouldn’t cry. I do have a romantic attachment to my car, but only because it was the vehicle I made trips in that involved real people. I don’t love it.
We all use words differently, and many of us say things knowing that we are exaggerating. No-one has ever, to my knowledge, actually laid down their life for a Chocolate Fudge Sundae, even if it was ‘to die for’. So when people say they ‘love’ their cars, most of them don’t confuse that with the strong affection they feel for members of their family, but some do. Some people, as you will find if you search the web, love their cars just a bit too much – a lot too much in fact – but I don’t mean that. I just mean that some people don’t, or can’t, prioritise between flesh and metal.
I do have an obsessive nature, so I’m not unsympathetic to the dangers. Reading stories of classic restoration projects, you occasionally come across men (always men it seems) who have obviously neglected the people in their lives to devote 5 years of their waking spare time to restoring a 1971 Hillman Avenger to its pristine mediocrity. Actually, even if it was a Ferrari Lusso it would make no difference. These people are odd. From a distance they might be gloriously odd and they probably make the world a more interesting place but, close up, they must be infuriating. And, unlike me, they really do love their cars.