It has become apparent to me, however, that the car is the window to the hidden depths of the personality.
Take my parents car, for example. They drive a Ford Fusion. My mother chose this car because “It’s a nice tidy shape”. Never mind engine size, fuel consumption, environmental impact, any of that business. A nice tidy shaped car, that’s what you need.
In the glovebox, should you venture to explore, you will find a packet of travel wipes, an A-Z of Rotherham (to the best of my knowledge they’ve never been there but it came with the car and my mother thought it might come in handy one day) and a small tin of what have always been referred to in our family as ‘Sucky Sweets’. That’s travel sweets to you. In the back seat of my parents car there is a cushion. Just one. They take the car through the Morrison’s car wash once a fortnight, carefully unscrewing the aerial each time, and my mother Hoovers the interior weekly. The car is spotless.
My car, on the other hand, is a battered Citroen Xsara (I call her Shitty Tara). I bought it because I needed a car in a hurry and it was within my price range. Shape was not a consideration, it could have been shaped like the Arc De Triomphe for all I cared as long as it was within budget. It has nasty scrapes on all four corner bumpers where things keep getting in my way.
If you were brave enough to open the glovebox you would be submerged beneath an avalanche of books, maps, used tissues, empty paracetamol packets and sachets of tomato ketchup – and a glove. Just one, I’m hoping the other will come home one day. In the back seat there are no cushions, which is just as well as the space which they would need is already occupied by several empty Pepsi Max bottles and three jackets. I take it through the Asda car wash once every six months, when the windscreen becomes obscured with grime because ‘the squirty’ ran out two months previously. I don’t unscrew the aerial because the radio doesn’t work anyway. I don’t Hoover it. The floor is a sea of crumbs.
One glance at my parents car would tell you that they are of a certain age, careful, conscientious and sensible.
One glance at mine would tell you I’m a bit… well, dirty 😉 😉 😉