Or it could have been a Daewoo Pinky-Ponk, or a Fiat Molecule. I am not sure. I had a bag over my head.
The thing is, I am not much interested in cars. That is to say, I am not much interested in cars that a) I can afford, and/or b) that do not come from the classic era in car making (ie from the invention of the car until about the Ford Sierra, after which all cars started to look the same.) (Although thinking about it, the Ford Sierra looked fucking futuristic when it first came out, and I’m sure was cited as such by leading opinion-formers, eg John Craven).
So actually, I have nothing against getting a Kia Ninky-Nonk, or a Suzuki Pootle, or a Daihatsu Chihuahua © or whatever, as millions of people drive around in these every day and they are perfectly happy and I would not like to look down on them. Except I am a very very shallow person and I worry that people would point and laugh and think that I am less of a man.
“Are you all right in the back?” asks the LTLP, who is in the driving seat, next to the man from the garage.
I consider this. “It is surprisingly roomy,” I reply honestly.
“That is because of the upright driving position,” assures the salesman. “There is a lot more room than you think. Although the boot is a bit on the small side,” he admits. The car climbs the hill to the dual-carriageway like somebody has forgotten to untie the big elastic that holds it to the showroom.
When we are a few miles on we stop, and the LTLP and I swap places. I turn the key to re-start the engine. There is an alarming noise!!!
“Er, the engine is already running,” explains the salesman. “I didn’t turn it off,” confirms the LTLP.
I apologise. “It’s – erm – a very quiet engine,” I report.
I drive around for a bit. The salesman has lots of impressive facts. Basically it will do about a grillion miles per gallon, or, if you don’t have any petrol, will run on cress. The driving is not too bad when you are not on fast roads, but it is time to be getting back.
“Where’s the clock on this thing?” I ask.
“Aha!” replies the salesman. “There is a clock as standard on the de luxe LX model.”
I check my watch.
Later on, I confess to the LTLP that I am not sure that I am ready to buy a car like this. It is nothing really to do with any machismo or false male sense of dignity, image etc. It is just that I do not think that sort of car really suits the manner of driving that we do or the type of roads that we do it on.
The following day, I mention to one of the fit milf mothers that we have test-driven a Kia Ninky-Nonk, as we pull up together at the nursery in our standard issue nursery-attending black middle-class sporting estate cars.
A pool of wee forms underneath her as she collapses in gleeful mirth, pointing at me and laughing and covering her mouth with her hand.