It’s Valentine’s Day today here in Oz. I scored big-time… with my annual Valentine’s Day card from my very-lovely mother; though spent the day listening to work and gym colleagues (and reading tweets) alternatively gushing over their roses and plans for the evening; or dissing the over-commercialisation of the day.
It occurred to me, however, that I have indulged in a little Valentine’s Day frivolity with the arrival of a new love into my life.
Yes indeedy, after months of procrastination online searching for a ‘new’ car, last week I found a one that interested me. Now, I’m not wealthy and I am – as it happens – a plain old mid level public servant, but because I’m going through a midlife crisis and pondering on the meaning of my existence (and stuff), I’ve bought myself a luxury car of sorts. The interesting thing is that when people ask me what I’ve bought I actually feel embarrassed and – as I’ve done here – have to qualify my purchase with the midlife crisis status explanation. And yet, I very specifically searched out this type of car.
I am the owner of a little Mercedes Benz. Now, having said that, I know that in some European countries, Mercs aren’t very exciting at all. However, here in Oz, they’re still kinda exciting if you’re shallow and frivolous like me. My new love, however, is not too OTT for a single (not-about-town) gal. It’s second hand (a 2009 model) and it’s a baby (A180) rather than something sporty with a sunroof. (After all, a girl can’t be TOO much of a cliché when indulging in her mid-life crisis!)
I did the handover today, trading my 12 year old Mazda in for its more-spanking new replacement. Well, my Mazda AND a hefty cheque of course. (Note to self: apologise to mortgage for increase!)
I was eager to get my hands on my new purchase, but as the sales rep and I moved to where my new love was waiting (obviously) impatiently for its new owner, he asked if I needed to farewell my old car.
If I was 4ft nothing and African American I would have said, “What you talkin’ about Willis?” Well, I would have if it was the late 1970s (or if the salesperson had been born in the days of Diff’rent Strokes!). Instead, on my best behaviour, I prevented ‘WTF?’ escaping my lips.
Being an insightful type of youngster the salesman understood my confusion and explained that some owners feel sad when parting with their much-treasured vehicles. In fact, he said, a recent seller had him take photographs of her and the car before she handed over the keys.
Naturally the guilt then set in and I wondered if I was indeed a heartless bitch, unthinkingly and unfeelingly casting aside her close friend and confidante of these past 10 years. After all, I had vague memories as a child of feeling sad as cars voyaged in and out of my family’s life.
But then sanity prevailed and I told the salesman I was ‘good to go’ and we moved towards the new love of my life without a backward glance at the former.
And like any new lover, my Valentine’s Day gift is going to take some getting used to. Indicators are where windscreen wipers should be, and I’ve got bluetooth connectivity… whereas my Mazda had no CD player and still featured a tape deck.
So, as others around the globe open bags of lingerie, boxes of chocolates and bunches of flowers, I’ll be thumbing through my new owner’s manual trying to work out how I can turn stuff off and on, and manage corners without injuring any bystanders.