I was going to include this in a post entitled strange things people say, but I decided to focus on this particular gem on its own.
Now there were a number of things about this statement which caused me to raise the old eyebrows. Firstly, the person calling my car names is someone I’d consider a Granny driver, not that I’d say so to her. She drives only in her village and the neighbouring small town, avoids any longer journey by guilting her husband or other family member to drive instead. She never drives in the dark, or in a foreign country. I’d call her cautious, but I’d even go so far as to say she’s ponderous in her driving, and watching her manoeuvring is a positively painful experience.
Whereas me? Well, I’ve had a number of fines for driving over the speed limit, so numerous in fact that I’ve been on many a road safety education programme and thus now drive entirely within the rules. My natural instinct is still to put my foot down, but I reign it in as soon as I notice. But unlike this person, I like driving; I really enjoy it. An ex who tested and raced high performance cars called me a proper driver, which I considered high praise. Certainly I’ve long had confidence in my competence, much of which was gained during those years I managed a company car fleet, happily hopping in & out of different cars, running them to ‘n fro for their regular drivers. It was a point of pride to never ask “how do you…?” or “where is the…?” One colleague was an hugely unlikeable individual and the garage where he dropped his car for a service took to parking his car in ever tighter spaces. Without telling me this fact, he arranged that I collect his car. Each time I took it as a personal challenge to my skills not to ask for another car to be moved – and each time I successfully removed the car without harm to it or others. Until the day a mechanic spotted it was me driving, and told me the tale. I promised never to collect it again….
That said, I’ve never owned a new car, nor owned one with a big engine. I did own one relatively hot hatch in my forties – which had sports seats and a quick change gearbox. I absolutely loved it, and all my daughter’s male friends thought I was cool as **** Unfortunately the seats killed my back and my boyfriend of the time couldn’t handle the gearbox, so I sold it and bought a VW. I’d still happily be driving a(nother) VW, as I love their all round solidity and quality of manufacture – for while I enjoy driving, a car is just a tool to get from A to B for me.
But, just months before the world went into full pandemic mode, a knee injury flared up, leaving me in tears when I engaged the clutch in order to change gear in my latest VW. Fortunately, Himself was in the car, and took over the driving. Weeks followed, during which I discovered I was allergic to the suggested pain relief medication, and so surgery became urgent. What also became urgent was me having access to a car which I could drive without using my left knee. And so I bought it…. My Granny car. It’s a compact Honda, with 4 doors and a boot (trunk for my readers across the pond). It has an automatic gearbox, is a silver grey rectangle, it looks dull, dull, dull…. and it’s pretty uninspiring to drive too. But, it allowed me to get myself to and from hospital, even while on crutches, and I love anything that ensures my independence. Maybe once I’ve had (and recovered) from the full knee replacement, I’ll change it again. Perhaps I’ll take my time and find a(nother) VW, but one with an automatic gearbox, as I’ll admit it makes sitting in traffic to and from London to visit the grandchildren way less stressful. For while I bristled at my car being called Granny…. I am, indeed, a Grandma (and a proud one at that).
What do you think your car says about you? Do you love a big-engined beast, or a compact runaround? If cost and practicality were no object, what car might you buy?
© Debra Carey, 2021