October 29th 2016
Today Alice got her first ever car, a Nissan Micra. After months of looking, she finally found a suitable one. The search was hardened by the fact that Alice only has an Automatic license and so can therefore, obviously, only drive automatic cars. And because of the infrequency at which automatic cars appear for sale, it was difficult to find one that was both nice, and good. (really emotive choice of adjectives there)
In the end her Dad was able to find one from a car dealership that was an hour away. So, we convoyed over to Slough to pick it up. She was so excited, bless her.
She didn’t want her first experience of the car to be driving it home on the motorway, and anyway she wasn’t insured on it yet, so her uncle drove it home, and then we all went in to insure it. That was where the first problem hit. Well, actually, the first problem was the radio breaking on the journey home.
The second problem was that for some reason, Admiral had changed their minds on a previous quote we’d received for car insurance. They’d no longer let it be paid by a monthly direct debit, something to do with credit rating, we think. It took an hour and a half to get it insured, and Alice was itching to take it out for a drive.
When we were finally insured, she got in the car and turned the key in the ignition.
It wouldn’t start. It didn’t even try to start. We all gave it a go but each had the same amount of luck – fuck all. It didn’t make any sense. Alice’s uncle drove it home from Slough without any problems (discounting the radio, which now worked again anyway)
It was diagnosed as a dead battery. Somehow the home journey had drained any juice it still had left, and the hour of sitting on the drive had killed it for good.
Whilst we went out in a different car to run errands, Alice’s dad went about fixing the problem. He charged the battery enough to take it to a garage to get a new battery. The new battery was installed, the car started working, and 5 hours after buying it, Alice was finally able to drive it.
I’ve waited 5 years for Alice to drive me somewhere, not the other way around for once. I thought I’d be more scared than I was, I’ll be honest. Perhaps it was just because I wasn’t sat in the front seat but I expected myself to be constantly checking her mirrors for her, and muttering recommendations, and crossing my heart and whispering a quick prayer to the Lord.
But she did great, and I didn’t have to worry.
Now, I get 5 years of free lifts repaid. It’s her turn to chauffeur for the next half decade.
Because I’m insured on it, I even gave it a little test drive. It’s only the third car I’ve ever driven, on top of my car, and the one in which I learnt to drive. It’s also the first automatic car I’ve ever driven. And let me tell you, I have seen the light. Why would you ever need gears and a clutch? A manual car has like, 50% more pedals than an automatic. So much effort.
Alice’s car just stops and gos like it’s a go cart.
Until tomorrow, you know, when you eventually get it to turn on…