Life, Psychology

Turning the wheel.



I looked at my car tonight, thinking how beautiful her lines are in my eyes. She is, undoubtedly, past her best, her engine is a little tired and uneconomical to bring back to optimum performance, the work she needs no longer financially viable, at least for me. Really, she needs an enthusiast to spend time and skill with her to bring her back to what she should be.

I can feel the road through her chassis, every bump, every mile, every bend. This is not necessarily a good thing, you may say. You are probably right. I quite like it. She responds to me and she, the road and I have a wonderfully intimate relationship.

Virtually anything will pass us on a fast road these days, not because she isn’t capable of speed, but because, being a little old lady, I am gentle with her. She is robust, reliable and very special to me for many reasons. But, I know that one day very soon, she and I will have to part company. I cannot afford to do her justice.

Yet, I love the little old lady. I cannot imagine getting rid of her and replacing her with something newer, possibly more practical, with fewer miles on the clock and an engine I can play with. Even though I know I would enjoy a car with, perhaps, greater comfort, better performance and with roof seals that don’t leak on me when the rain comes at a specific angle.

This car fits me like a glove. She cuddles me when I drive her and I get a thrill of joy every time I get behind her rather shabby wheel, even now, after so many years and tens of thousands of miles. Another car?

I cannot imagine it… I dread that day. Have you ever wondered how much our emotions and fears are based on imagination? We anticipate a scenario in our minds, peopling it with characters and scripting in fantasy what they are going to say, yet when reality actually arrives, nine times out of ten, it is utterly different from what we have pictured.

We then enter these imagined situations in a state of predetermined terror, feeling a very real fear, physically and emotionally, and we react accordingly. We may find ourselves, depending on our nature, being deliberately on either the offensive or defensive, intent upon meeting head on a situation that exists, in fact, only within our own minds.

The spider doesn’t eat us whole, the dentist is not a homicidal maniac, the interviewer not bent wholly on uncovering every skeleton in our family closet. The new car may, in fact, be a joy.

Yet we build these fears for ourselves with utter familiarity and, quite frequently, an absolute disregard for logic.

Odd, isn’t it?

We manage to convince ourselves of awful and terrible possibilities without the slightest hesitation. Yet a modicum of common sense would show how ridiculous we are being.

Then, of course, there is the obverse effect which we seldom notice, let alone use. How about if we harness that same power of imagination to create positive scenarios? We do it occasionally, even though we don’t realise it.

Christmas morning as a child is filled with excited anticipation. So is a first date, a long-awaited reunion, the birth of a child… Here, too, we see ourselves in imagination right inside the situation, revelling in the moment and the gift of joy that it brings. We have already decided the outcome of the event before it begins, consequently we go into it already feeling the predicted emotion and handle the situation in a far more positive manner.

So, instead of looking at what I will miss about my little car, I am going to start looking at all the things I shall enjoy about her replacement, starting with how nice it will be to be able to use the accelerator pedal with confidence and panache, rather than gentle concern.

I have had and driven a good many cars over the years, This little baby is the first one that ever captured my heart. My first love affair with wheels. Who knows, I may fall in love with the new one when I find it, all over again, and find, that like any first love, the next is better, deeper, stronger, and the last is the best of all.


My little car died, quietly one night in a hotel car-park far from home. She was replaced by a shiny, much newer model with an accelorator pedal I dared to use, air-con, so much space… we named her the Silver Bullet and I learned to love her too. She performed sterling service till squashed by a supermarket lorry where she was ‘safely’ parked.

But I still miss being hugged by my old MR2. I hope she does not rest in peace, but is somewhere being loved by someone who knows how to care for her as I could not and will let her play with the roads.

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