Sat on the bus last night, in my own quiet world minus the guy who kept moaning in a very disturbing way (did I mention I can hear low noises), I got reminiscing about my car.
Jennifer was my only lesbian crush – and I think as she was a green Mini – it doesn’t really count. She was everything I could wish for in a car and came into my life when I was 16 and couldn’t even drive.
My friend Jenny and I used to sit in her where she was parked outside my house and listen to Roxette on the very shonky cassette recorder.
Now, Minis are perfectly suited to not being able to hear very well, because they are so loud that your passengers can’t hear very well either, so we were all in the same boat. My Mini was also very good at making extremely loud noises when something was about to go wrong. I think everyone within a five-mile radius knew when her exhaust had fallen off.
I had her for 10 years and during that time she saw more than her fair share of dramas, break-ups and general girly gossip. She learnt to fly over cattle grids at break neck speeds, park on pavements and even coped when some ridiculously stupid chav from Pompey reversed into her. When she died, from a head injury, I was broken hearted.
Now I have a quiet purring Peugeot called Boo, which I love and that I can hear surprisingly well in – but I still look back at my years in Jennifer the Mini fondly.
There was the time I nearly fractured Helena’s skull going over a speed bump in Tesco car park – she was sat in the middle of the back seat so I could lip read her in the rear view mirror and I approached the speed bump with such gusto that she took off vertically into the motor for my electric sunroof.
Then there was the time I was driving to school with my friend Kate, discussing our forthcoming skiing trip. ‘Of course you don’t need one,’ I said in answer to her question. ‘But my parents would really like me to have one,’ she replied.
Incredulously I looked at her and said, ‘Why on earth do your parents want you to take a cocktail dress skiing?’
There was a roll of eyes as I pulled into the car park at school, and a pause as I yanked the handbrake up. Then, Kate looked at me and said, ‘Cocktail dress? What are you on about? I said contact address!’
For embarrassment’s sake, I took my fist cocktail dress skiing that year!