The problem with fairytales is that they present a very incomplete version of reality. What Walt Disney doesn’t tell you is, after riding off into the sunset with your princess astride a regal white horse, her all-singing, all-dancing cast of former servants will require managing. Or that your sweet wife’s bitter stepsisters will suddenly say they’re very sorry and that they’d like a room in your new pad (along with some former scullery maids of their own, thank you).
It’s a very similar deal with car ownership. You’ve scrimped and saved (including that time when you ate instant noodles, three meals a day, for three months solid), and finally, the lifelong dream of personal mobility is now yours.
Unfortunately, as with fairytales, what the glossy brochures conveniently omit is, after the dreamy “courtship” (that is, car shopping), the ownership part isn’t always glamorous or liberating.
Of course, you’ll enjoy a period of “marital bliss” with your new car. She’ll be your ever-faithful companion, ferrying you tirelessly through the day, and you in turn will treat her with the utmost respect, being gentle with your throttle inputs and dutifully upshifting before 3000rpm.
But in time, you’ll come to discover that, as the title of the iconic 1990s Gen X movie goes, reality bites. Your new “bride” will need to be fed a steady diet of refined petroleum products and will also require annual tithes to the evil stepmothers-in-law of road tax and motor insurance.
And let’s not forget that your new car will also require yearly (or more frequent) “health checks”, and should any impromptu “aesthetic surgery procedures” be undertaken, such as deciding she needs a bigger power-bulge, you can be sure she won’t be lifting a finger to help financially. This is one woman who obviously hasn’t heard of paying her own way for the finer things in life – no, sirree.
There’ll also be times when she’s feeling temperamental and refuses to get going, no matter how hard you cajole. The car, as with a flesh-and-blood woman, can choose the worst possible time to be in a foul mood (such as when you have an important job interview to go to).
On the upside, getting a “divorce” is far easier in the world of wheels than in the real world of men and women. If nothing else, you know that your “ex-wife” won’t be using the extortionate alimony she’s getting to go on a tropical island holiday with someone half your age and with twice the amount of hair.