Monday, 1 June 2015

How will the Snapper's new car compare to Damo the Demio?

Out with the old, in with the new(er)...

“It’s a bit ugly!” complained the Snapper, looking at the Mazda Demio.

Up to that point I’d barely considered the aesthetics of the car. All I knew was that Paddy had once again pulled off a minor miracle, finding an excellent car for my missis.

Although it was 9 years old it had incredibly low mileage, and better still the timing belt had been replaced. Boring details maybe, but to this testicular mind, vital and pleasing information.

Still, I’m far from blind to beauty, so I stepped back and looked at the motor. Hmm, yeh, could see what she meant. It was sort of SUV shaped, but it looked like someone had washed it and put it in the tumble dryer, whereby it had shrunk by a third.

Being a protective soul I was more interested in the way the car drove. Its brakes and suspension were top notch, the gentle kick in the small of my back when I put the pedal down in 5th gear reassuring me that the low mileage was kosher. This was a young engine, and even better: it was a Mazda engine.

“The last Mazda with a Mazda engine!” That’s what Paddy declared, knowing that after many years driving Betsy the Blue Bubble, I am very much a fan of Mazda engines.

I’ve never had a car with an engine like that. Thankfully I’ve driven both more powerful and faster cars, because the Snapper had been right in her assertion, when she first saw Betsy, that it was “A girl’s car.”

Didn’t bother me in the least (well, maybe a tiny bit!) because I knew what a great car Betsy was. I drove to all four corner of this island in that car and never saw the oil on the dipstick looking anything other than sparkly translucent. Betsy’s engine was so clean I wondered if there might be something wrong with it, but no.
She was so reliable, like this Demio, in great nick, safe and being offered at a very affordable price.

However, relationships are something of a tightrope walk on occasion. If she’s worried about how it looks I might as well respect that and somehow impress upon her that other factors are more important.

“Hmm, yeh love, see what you mean. She’s not exactly a thing of beauty, is she?” And then a moment of inspiration: “Or is it a ‘he’?”

“Don’t know if it’s a he or she, but I think it’s a bit ugly, that’s all.”

She took it for a test drive and remained quiet and surprisingly unexcited at the prospect of having her own car for the first time.

I had a word in Paddy’s ear, thanking him profusely for coming up with such excellent goods and asking him to be patient for a few days. We were going to buy it, I reassured him, but the moment had to be right.

He nodded and gave me an understanding smile.

A few days later I popped down to his garage with a wad of cash and asked Paddy to cut a spare key for the car. Once that was done he came up to the house and dropped off the registration papers.

The Snapper was at work, so I sat staring at the car’s log book, trying to work out a way to make her want the car. At certain points in our lives we all have to resort to a little emotional manipulation of our partners. Some people use it as a way of life, but I can only do it knowingly when there’s a benign end in sight. A little like a white lie, I was going to twang my wife’s heartstrings because I knew that regardless of how it looked, this car was perfect for her.
I sent her a text:

‘Damo the Demio’s adoption papers are here, ready for you to sign.’

Hell, sometimes I even surprise myself! Worked an absolute treat. She fell in love with the car now christened Damo, and enjoyed 7 years of trouble-free driving. I loved driving Damo, as his suspension took Connemara’s potholes in his stride.

Damo became a family member, as much as an inanimate lump of metal, plastic and oil might, until this time last year, when he broke down due to rust. A flag raised in my head, but the engine was still tight and responsive, drove really well and still felt safe and reliable, so I kept my powder dry until last September, when he was off the road with another rust attack.

However un-green it may be, our lives demand we run two cars, as when one is in for repair, I am carless. Great for the writing but no good for the head. I do solitude way too well, but I need to try and be human, so a car is essential for getting into town.

Taking a deep breath, I ventured:

“Look love, rust doesn’t get better. Maybe it’s time for us to buy you a new car.”

She looked at me as if I’d just suggested she poison Lady Dog.

“No! I love my Damo!”

“Yes I know” I whispered patiently, reflecting how she had hated the car at first sight, “But two rust repairs in six months, heeesssh, maybe it’s time to find you something more reliable.”

“Damo’s incredibly reliable! I love my Damo!”

For the sake of your hearts and these column inches, I’ll spare you the full interaction. Just take the dialogue above and repeat it in its entirety 10 or 20 times, and you’ll be close.

I relented. She drove Damo through the winter, after which we spent a small fortune on him so he could pass his NCT.

Then he broke down again and now he is in the garage, and I have bought the Snapper another car. Despite the tears lurking behind her eyes, she is being strong, trying her best to sound excited about the Toyota Corolla she’s yet to meet.

©Charlie Adley

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