“I love my old banger, who needs a new car when you can buy a £400 car that gets you from A to B with no trouble whatsoever?” This was me about two weeks ago, speaking to my lovely friend who was trying to tell me the virtues of a new car. She had valid points – hopefully no car trouble, 3 or more years free servicing, low car tax, hassle free driving. However, I can never get past the huge amount one has to put down for an item that is worth considerably less the moment you drive it. I am into buying assets these days, not liabilities…
Anyway, fast forward to today, as I am driving up to my once a week pharmacist role, my beloved cheap banger failed me – failed me completely. It refused to go above 20 miles per hour and in fact it stalled completely when going uphill. Great fun, indeed :-D… At one point, I was driving along slower than I could walk but I was nearer work than home and still too far to walk to work so on I chugged. The other joy of being a pharmacist is that the stores (sometimes, very huge stores) are unable to open without you being there so I always feel responsible to get to work as soon as possible. So after a quick call to say I was chugging along but would be there as soon as I could crawl to the door, I proceeded to get as much speed out of my banger as possible.
A kind young man pushed me up the next hill and the car took off down hill and with that little impetus, I was able to get to work while willing all the drivers on the road to get out of my way as I could not get going again, if I had to stop for anyone.
Then on to discover that the lovely ‘First Call’ – the breakdown service I have been with for 3 years and have on three cars (but not for much longer!) – was failing me again (I should have learnt my lesson the first time but they assured me that the cover I had would take me home… on the train. It seems they forgot to mention that that did not mean the car would get home. My fault, really, I should not have listened to the words they spoke but I should have paid a lot of attention to the small print). They could not recover my vehicle home. Aaargh! what to do, what to do? I am about 50 miles from home, the breakdown mechanic says the clutch is gone. So Tloml is employed to come and pick the banger and I up.
Against his better judgement, he agrees to tow us back home. He arrives with tow rope and away we go. Except we travel a few seconds and the tow rope gets yanked out the back of the car towing me. We try again and we make some headway, but…
I am petrified!
I am sitting in the car but I am not in control at all. I can see the speedometer telling me I am traveling at about 30 miles an hour, sometimes more but I am not the one doing it. I want to take back control but I have to stop myself and trust the car in front. I just keep my eyes fixed on the brake lights of tloml’s car and the tautness of the tow rope. It is a horrid feeling. I am, in theory, in the driver’s seat but I am just yanked along wherever the guy in front takes me.
I hate it!
While keeping my eyes firmly on tow rope and brake lights, I found myself thinking that a lot of people live life this way. They are in the driver’s seat but they are just following along with someone else’s agenda for their life. Whether it is the government, their spouse, their family, their religious leader, whoever… Surely, that is a terrifying way to live.
About 50 minutes into the journey, I am beginning to feel myself get used to this. Just keep my eyes on the brake lights and tow rope and all should be well. Again, I imagine this is the case for a lot of people, you just get used to living someone else’s life.
But then the tow rope snapped and I came to a dead halt again. I am completely helpless until I step out of the car and start to push myself (with Tloml’s help) to a grass verge. We leave the car there and go on home.
It is a bit like the recession, we all went along with someone else’s plan for us and then the tow rope broke and we are all left picking up the pieces. Some people just sit there waiting for someone else to pull them along, some people rail at the fact that they are no longer being pulled along, some people get out of the car and get to pushing themselves along (maybe with a little help but they get to it).
What kind of a person are you? Who is in control, who is in the driver’s seat in your life?