My new mini. She is waaay sassy. And impossible to understand. For a kickoff she goes from nothing to outer space in about five minutes and five minutes is not enough time for me, the new old woman, to adapt. I have to pull in. What happened there? We just flipped over terrain I would normally take in a leisurely fifteen. Forget the outer space bit. Never been there and never plan to go. She is a Mini Cooper not a trainee rocket. Pre her sassy outerspaceseeking self, I had bought Maz. Those who follow the star walkers will know who Maz is. I felt, when I bought my black Mini Countryman in order to facilitate himself and his wheelchair and sticks and dog and bags of this and important that, that I was as old as Maz which, of course, is nonsense, as Maz was about 3000 years old and I so never aspire to that, even as I thought her wrinkled wrinkles rather lovely.
Now that himself has made his own journey into space, I am free to choose my own own-ness and this cream coloured wheech of a mini is my choice. And yet. And yet. She regularly confounds me and not just with her speed and take off and whizz and wheel turn, all of which can make me feel that I may never be in charge of this creature. But the real confoundment lies in her internal computer. I have no idea why anyone would ever want one of those, but, nonetheless, she has one and I must needs, in my sitting position behind her wheel, concede, at the very least, to compliance, peppered with a cautious curiosity. And I have named her. Well, to be honest, it is more about me remembering her registration plate, the demand for which comes when you least expect it. I have met ‘least expect it’ way too many times in my life not to be prepared. So in my life, I prepare and not just for number plate memory. To be honest I think preparation is key, in order not to be that woman on the pavement having no idea where she parked her car. I named her Pixty Forkov. She, I have decided, is the daughter of two eminent Russians, circa Imperial days. Her father was Vladimir Gotalotovitch and her mama Saskia Kalashnikov. You can guess who wore the trews in that marriage. Her name suits her for she is very much her own person and I am just a woman permitted to sit behind her wheel. Once I have pressed ‘play’ on the start engine key, one that took me quite a while to find, it is she who decides what happens next. I guide her, certainly. I don’t want her thinking, despite her cruise control options, that she can go off without me whenever she fancies a road trip.
I know that my adventures into the land of nonsense might seem childish to others, but ever since my mother rolled her eyes at me, tutted and sighed “I should have called you Alice”, I have engaged more readily with Wonderland than I ever have with the un-wonderland of a life where ‘measure’ rates way higher than ‘imagination’. Thus I am one who gives names to creatures without human form as easily as I would to a newborn child. Life lived this way is so much more fun, I find. And fun is my absolute thing, as it was for my granny and, oddly enough, my mum too, although she could get very fankled up in un-wonderlandment as the cares of life weighed her down. She was sensible. I was not, even if I could be should the need arise.
Pixty’s current hold over me is her refusal to open her mouth. No matter how hard I pull on the lever marked Bonnet, she clamps her jaws shut and I am thus forced into calling my neighbour for help. Whilst I yank on the lever, he inserts his strong fingers between her lips and pulls up hard. I can hear her sigh but no matter. She had run out of windscreen wash and action was required. I poured the blue solution into the correct hole marked with a WW, realising too late that I hadn’t watered it down. I will need to call said neighbour back for another dual operation because the slimy concentrate once applied merely coats the windscreen in oily gloop rendering me blind. Not a good state to be in whilst driving. And as for the computer, well I am quite lost. Not one of the symbols that flash up alarmingly correlate to the symbols in the driver’s manual, which, in my opinion, was written, not for the likes of me but instead for someone with a degree in computer science and a Phd in mechanics. Yesterday as I went to deliver a birthday present to a village friend, in the rain, this computer gave me one word, presented in capital letters, in neon blue, and in disturbing flashes. DRIVETRAIN. Hallo? What the heck does that mean? I pull over and consult the confusing manual. There is no allusion to such a word. I decide to ignore it and drive anyway, returning home safely. You and me, I say, stabbing my pointing finger at the screen, need a chat. In fact, no. I am done with you scaring me half to death with your flashed up warnings that mean zip. Duct tape will be just about wide enough to cover you over once and for all. That’ll sort you out, and me. Then, from behind that blackout tape you can flash away to your heart’s content whilst I drive here or there without a care in the world.
Someone needs to take another look at drivers’ manuals, in my opinion. They might avoid a whole lot of road trouble that way because I believe that many of us do not understand cars and we need simple language mindfully delivered. I would even like to see a ‘Well Done!’ at the end of each section. Or is that going a bit far I wonder……