The car ate my homework

Okay people, this is how not to do it

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The new Psychologies website goes live on the 15th of May. You are due to write three blogs before then. You do the training a month ahead of time. Hallelujah. We are all set.

But wait, what’s that coming round the corner? Nothing. There is nothing coming around the corner. That’s because your car blew up last October, and your son is finally getting sick of you begging for lifts or to borrow his car. And you are sick of the fact that getting the train to London means a 20 minute walk beside a busy road.

The driveway is empty. Your brain is full … of car reviews: “A 'soft' set-up might feel great on a short drive”. “A notchy gearshift lets down refinement”. “Things feel a shade lumpy and unsettled”.

Let’s be honest though, the lumpy and unsettled – it’s not you, it’s me.

My name is Mary, and I am allergic to buying cars. My husband bought the last car I owned. I didn’t even see it until I went to pick it up: a fair reflection of my level of interest. That was 12 years ago: my husband died six years ago; the car died six months ago, and I am completely stuck.

It turns out that buying a car is absolutely the worst job so far as a zone where man speaks unto man. Allegedly forty per cent of the cars on the road belong to women. I honestly do not know how they do it. Less than 10 per cent of car sales people are female, and there is something about the way people write and talk about cars which makes it all sound like Swahili to me.

I’ll cut to the chase. I decide to buy a brand new car. There is a nought per cent finance offer. A 100,000 mile warranty. There’s only one problem. As I head towards the dealership to sign the contract I realise that this commitment, which I will be paying off until after all my children leave home, is bringing me precisely no joy. I have two out of my four teenagers with me on what is due to be the final test drive. They are silent. When the dealer goes to find the paperwork, my son says gently “Mum, do you really want something that boring?”. We say that we are going for lunch. We never go back.

This one could run and run.

How to test drive a car

How not to buy a car

It's not just me

Mary Fenwick

Embracing blue stockings, -

Committed to working with women in public life. I want to see more imperfect women in business, politics and the commentariat. And more wonderful men working with children and in home life.


Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
over 7 years ago
Mary - my car is now 10 years old and I dread the day it breaks down and I need to buy another. Maybe there is a new way to life - car-less? By bicycle? In trainers? x
Go to the profile of Mary Fenwick
over 7 years ago
Talk to me first! I could set up a support group.
Go to the profile of Karen Eason
over 7 years ago
I understand, my current theory is definately buy a car and cross fingers for as long as possible. However I suspect the increasingly complex conversations I have to have with the garage about all the things going wrong with my current automobile are just a warm-up for the replacement event. Its a wonderful lesson for me as a doctor how what seems like simple sentences to a "specialist" seems like greek to someone who doesn't understand AND how hard it is to say "Hmmm what did all that mean?.."