Necessity might be the mother of Invention, but her second child is named Compromise.
For anyone with an ounce of petrol in their veins, few experiences necessitate compromise more than parenthood. Children may be small, but their interminable things are not. The gravitational pull of a gurgling baby Katamari attracts hitherto unimaginable mountains of clutter.
For reasons you cannot possibly fathom, little baby Huguenot or Areola (or whatever random syllables you have strung together to make a name) requires bottles, bags, food, hats, nappies, changes of clothing and a pushchair bigger than the HMS Dreadnought. A short trip to the shops comes to present a logistical challenge akin to the Berlin Airlift.
Shell shocked fathers soon find themselves defending an unwelcome new front. The opening salvo is usually innocuous enough. “Maybe we should buy something more practical?” the wife (for it is usually she) innocently suggests. “We’ll be fine,” you say, blithely shoehorning a mini-skip’s worth of tat into your perfectly capacious awesome sporty hatchback. Discussion over, as far as you are concerned.
But much like the smell of soiled nappies that has permeated your soft furnishings, the idea will not dissipate once aired. A combination of sleepless nights and incessant nagging tests your resistance.
At one time you laughed at people and their “sprog wagons”. You wore your good taste with pride. Nowadays you wear socks and Crocs, because those are the only two matching shoes you can find. Last week you recycled a crumpled T-shirt from the previous day, only realising it had a bit of sick over the shoulder after you returned home from work. You have given up on yourself, and on life.
But at least you still have your awesome sporty hatchback. And then it happens.
Snapping out of your waking coma one morning, you look down to see the V5 of your pride and joy sat on a desk, the Transfer of Ownership section filled in and signed. The V5 disappears, to be replaced with a wad of paperwork thicker than a London phone book. Inside is what looks suspiciously like the terms of a lease on a Nissan Qashqai 1.5 diesel. Oh dear God NO.
“Congratulations, breeder!” a salesman in a shiny Next suit brays at you whilst shaking your hand, although for the life of you, you cannot work out what there is to celebrate. “Here is your keyless fob; pop it in the flowery bag of baby guff the wife makes you carry everywhere and forget that your awesome sporty hatchback (or life) ever existed! Now take your socks and Crocs and GET OUT.”
And that is how a seemingly rational, intelligent person comes to buy a Nissan Qashqai.
Later, deep in the bowels of a Wacky Warehouse, little Huguenot/Areola/Eyjafjallajökull joyfully submerges into a giant pit of plastic balls and other disease-ridden children. Nursing a pint of gassy lager, you ponder just how your beloved awesome sporty hatchback could transmogrify into a T34 tank. The wife on the other hand is cock-a-hoop with her new shopping trolley. Climate control! Bluetooth! Leather seats that fold every which way! 55mpg! A 0-60 measured in geological time! You haven’t seen her use an exclamation mark in months, never mind five in one paragraph.
Oh well, you concede, she’s happy. The kid, burping up what looks like yoghurt into the ball pit, is happy. You have a pint of gassy lager, so you’re as close to happy as you’re going to get for the next 16 years. Life is almost good.
And then a random thought pops into your head. I wonder how much Jaguar V8s are going for on Autotrader?