Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A Terrible Smell & 1 Careful Previous Owner

I bought a new car this weekend. I said goodbye to my top of the range people carrier with all mod cons and LOTS of space. Goodbye to seven seats which have all been used in a variety of combinations. Goodbye to the full length sun roof which blinds the children when the sun shines. Goodbye to the parental controls for the windows and doors in the rear. Goodbye to just enough space that the children can’t touch each other from opposite ends of the car.

Hello to my new car, 9 years old hatchback with 5 seats, a terrible smell and 1 careful previous owner.

During the negotiations with the one careful previous owner the 2 year old asked to be picked up so that he didn’t have to stand too close to the "scary man". Luckily the scary man was discussing the finer points of fuel consumption with my husband and didn’t hear. Just for my equal opportunities record this man was White British and not wearing a Hijab (see previous post The eyes). The 2 year old does not discriminate; scary people come in many forms.

My husband agreed a price with the scary man, there was even a manly handshake to seal the deal. The children, so excited by our new purchase snubbed their father and came home in my new car.

I was less than excited when the car started. It made a rasping noise. The scary man assured me that this happens every time it starts but was nothing to worry about. The 4 year old thought the noise was great. “Mummy’s car farts!” she said.

When we set off I was trying to concentrate. It was the sort of concentration which made me so tense that I looked like a hunchback. This new car was alien to me, I thought I was going to stall, forget about the manual handbrake or press a random and unfamiliar button causing me to kill myself and my children.

I felt like I was riding in a go kart, that if it weren’t for the seat my arse would actually be scraping along the road. The engine sounded like a tractor.

The 4 year old suddenly exclaimed "What’s that?” … she was pointing at the radio cassette player, I gave her a brief description of this aged technology. “Mummy, this is the bestest car in the whole world” was her response. I must admit that after visiting the petrol station and filling my tank for £40 rather than £100+ I had to agree with her.

Ten minutes from home and travelling at 60 miles per hour along a dual carriageway the 2 year old discovered his new fangled window winder “What’s this, what’s this...” he repeated over and over as only a 2 year old does. Cackles of glee ensued as he discovered what it was and wound his window down. A wind tunnel formed and the 4 year old followed suit. During their wind filled excitement they discovered they could touch each other across the car which turned into a full scale scrap where the 3 year old would merely wave his finger in the general direction of the 4 year old and she would whine and shout, flailing her arms in his direction. They also discovered that they couldn't shut their respective windows which meant the wind tunnel effect was constant all the way home.

I’m looking forward to the changes in modern cars over the next year or two. Maybe when I am ready to buy a new car someone will have invented the ‘whinescreen’, a soundproof screen which appears, at the push of a button, between the front and rear seats separating parent from child. Bliss.

For now I'll just have to use the old fashioned method of gags and straightjackets … and I must get an air freshener to rid the car of the smell of scary man.

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