I love my car.
Well, it’s a van, really. She seats 7 in aging, leather-clad luxury and comes with every imaginable bell and whistle, apart from Bluetooth, which is my only proper niggle. Being the better part of 9 years old, she has that eighth wonder of the world, an on-board navigational system; sadly, with road construction across Europe being pretty much a constant, it is well out of date, a fact we discovered when trying to locate a McDonalds in France during a return from skiing last year. Driving her is a bit like wearing your grandmother’s dress to the prom; the height of fashion in its day, but now, thoroughly de passé.
Having said that, so long as you are content with sub-standard sound in the form of a rattly left rear speaker, the result of one too many Snow Patrol jams in Adult Alternative paradise, and a drop down DVD player that works only on occasion and with great difficulty jockeying between 2 (yes, 2!) separate remotes from the backseat thanks to the wonders of French engineering, it is pretty much State of the Art.
She is a petrol-hog with her 3 L diesel engine and all the manoeuvrability of a barge. Still, she is my baby. I love her not least because, if you pack her full of friends or family, purses, books, bags, tubes of lipstick, laughter and shiny things, she becomes more or less a rolling party on wheels. Well, that is, once you stow the 2 child car seats behind the 3rd row, unless they are in use. I am a Grandmother first; Cruise Director second.
A dear friend once referred to her as Vegas, and the name just stuck. I’m sure by now you can imagine why. No, we are not talking anything illicit or rude – please, people. This is me talking. But let’s just say, for the record, it is just as well Vegas is unable to talk. Oh, the stories she could tell! These days, my most meaningful conversations seem to occur right there. From behind her steering wheel, I sit as both authority and mediator, passing judgment on, advising and/or possibly despairing at everyone and everything, most usually the driver in front of me. Worries are shared among friends, steam blown off, tears shed, understanding offered and accepted. Vegas is a fantastic secret keeper.
She has listened to me jamming to Britney, Mylie, Will and Fergie and she never questions my taste or age. So what if pop is the musical equivalent of Cheetos? Vegas never minds. (Mmm. Cheetos.) She has witnessed me butchering Sarah Brightman’s “Time To Say Goodbye” sung with gusto in full soprano, but she doesn’t judge. Her dashboard is never critical. Even her lighted mirror is just yellow enough to make me appear stunningly wrinkle-free after the sun goes down. Don’t ever listen to fluorescent lights people. Visor mirrors never lie.
As “granny” as we both are, my car is happy for me to feel young behind her wheel.
Yes, Vegas plods along with heartening regularity, her heat shield rattling in a friendly way when I put her in reverse, just to remind me of her 100,000+ miles and her gratitude for occasional, albeit expensive, maintenance. She is a true kindred spirit.
Originally published by motherhendiaries 28 February 2014
Update/Epitaph: I am sad to say that, my beautiful Vegas is currently being prepared for a trip down Trade-In Lane, thanks to recurrent and expensive issues with her fuel injectors. She will soon be travelling to her new life at the back of someone’s Renault scrap yard, her parts being easily more valuable than her sum. Poor Vegas. After all these years of reliable service. I shall never forget her and our happy road trips…
Vegas will carry my secrets to her eventual grave. Gotta love her.
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