by Rachel Ragg
I have a new car. And not new as in ‘not our old one’. As in actually, genuinely, really and truly never previously driven by anyone else.
This is the first time I have ever owned a new car in my entire life. And so I am ridiculously proud of it.
In fact, I am officially a Stepford Car-Owner.
I am parking several miles from Tesco and walking the rest of the way, so that nobody can scrape my beautiful bodywork in a parking bay. I am excessively cautious around the treacherous school gate. I am undoubtedly the most careful driver on the road. All I lack is a neon sign on the roof saying KEEP AWAY FROM MY LOVELY NEW CAR.
The children are being re-trained in the ways of Stepford too. After ten years of clambering around our old rust-bucket with muddy shoes on, they are having to learn that it is not necessary to stand on a car seat. Nor is it necessary to leave half-drunk cartons of juice in the footwell so that someone else treads on them, releasing a sticky fountain all over the muddy books that also lurk there. Eating, throwing paper snowballs, sticking things to the windows: all banned.
So is car sickness. So are Zhu Zhu hamsters (car sickness and the internal workings of Zhu Zhu hamsters was a bad combination even in our stinky old car). I might as well ban breathing while I’m at it.
Last week, I opened the window to throw out a hair.
“Mummy, what are you doing?” asked my seven-year-old.
“Throwing out a hair, of course,” I replied. “I am not having STRAY HAIRS in my lovely new car.”
I repeated this story to a group of mothers as I was leaving a children’s party. Knowing me as they do, they were most amused by my transformation from scruffbag to Stepford car-owner.
Then I waved at them – and reversed into a lamp post.
I think I’ve gone off January after all.