OUTSIDE a crematorium the other day waiting for the hearse to arrive, I had time to stand and study Stella the Micra.
Two of her tyres are nearly bald, I noticed, and the petrol cap has jammed itself shut. The boot lock sticks and the windscreen wipers are kaput.
At home the mail held a tax disc renewal notice – £160 this year, if you can afford it in a lump – and my AA renewal notice.
Insurance premiums are rising and to crown injury with insult, the other week I returned to find Stella was not where I had left her. She had been taken on holiday to Parkhead, under duress, to the council pound. There were no road markings: it pays to be psychic round these parts.
There are two train stations minutes from my flat, about nine bus routes and a subway stop a slight hoof away. In the recesses in the alcove of my mind a bit of brain whispered: "You don't need a car." It's right. I don't. Few people "need" a car but we kid ourselves we do.
Now I live smack-bang in the city I tell myself I "need" a car to visit Ma Stewart. Though Ma Stewart, who cannot drive at all, visits me just fine.
Tonight I'm driving to Yorkshire. My friends are poised, breath bated and bets on, to see how long this will take.
Stephanie, my friend, moved to Doncaster and my attempts at driving to her house in the recommended four-hour time frame are legendary. Once I went squiffy at Scotch Corner and ended up on the wrong side of the country (praise be for Shakespeare: I noticed the service station had a red rose outside. "Crappit," I thought, "That should be white.") before taking a six-hour detour through Liverpool, Manchester and past Leeds. Another time I gave up and spent the night in a hotel.
Comedically disastrous road trips are not a good enough reason to run a car, are they? It seems sacriligious to even think it – Stella is a blue metal person to me. But anthropomorphism is justification for nothing.
It feels crazy to consider life without a car but maybe it's time. Of course, I couldn't sell Stella. She would just have to sit outside, quietly, so I could wave to her going past.
Yeah. I'm definitely too attached to my car, aren't I?
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