‘The Jeeps, Lex Coupes, Beamers and the…!’

Now that I have become a real Londoner and climate change enthusiast, I have abandoned my motor vehicle for the wonderful public transport system. I get my green credentials, am doing my bit for the environment and am saving loadsa money in the process. But I do miss the independence owning a car brings and when I do own another car, and I do plan to at some point in the not too distant future, I aim to get a new car, something that will befit a man of my status.

As much as I know a runaround will suffice, the reality is I will probably go for a ‘ride’, one that wouldn’t look out of place in a 50 cent video! One that acts like a CV and has women crossing over the road in the hope that I will run them over! – a four wheeled Lynx advert! You see, I know how the world works and a top of the range motor vehicle does more than turn heads and get you into clubs. It gets you beautiful girls and instils envy in all the other guys you see on your daily travels. A nice ride goes hand in hand with designer clothes, top restaurants and a designer pad, The only companies that need apply for the position of giving me status are Lexus, Mercedes, Audi or BMW or any forty grand plus four by four, or anything that is obviously ‘up there’. A phat ride lets the world know you have arrived and ensures you get the respect you deserve. At least I think it does…doesn’t it?

I stutter because when you are driving out of the showroom, amid smiles from all the staff and feeling as cool and as dapper as you dare, they fail to tell you about the hidden ‘extras’ that come with owning an expensive piece of metal. And I tell you these extras in no particular order of importance.

As soon as you hit the highway and have got her back home where she belongs, after you have admired her in the late evening under a beautiful sunset and it is time to stop polishing her and go to bed…you will worry, Hidden Extra number 1. This worry is like nothing you have had before, especially if you don’t have kids, because while you attempt to sleep with one eye open, your ‘mortgage’ on your drive is desirable to others. And like leaving your girlfriend unattended in a club, undesirables will zoom in as soon as they fuckin can, their one goal, to take…your…shit! When you wake up your car could be in a crate making its way across Eastern Europe…along with your Best of Michael Jackson CD. After a while you do get used to the threat and just hope that your baby, equipped to the teeth in new technology, will be able to protect herself, resisting the strong temptation of another ‘man’ entering her doors without your permission, (little bro’s don’t count…although they should!).

Hidden Extra number 2, they never tell you how much you will worry about damaging the new ride. For a while you think puddles will damage the paint work and the acid rain will turn your baby into a soft top! All not true of course but there is the real threat of scratches, bird poop and, dare I say…the dreaded RTA. You wonder how you will deal with it and the realisation that maybe you should have read the small print in your insurance terms and conditions, (how much is the excess??) After she is fixed your baby is no longer perfect. The dents may be long gone but the memories take longer to fade.

So you even get past this, and you‘re going out to clubs and raves all over town. Restaurants are your thing, or just cruising up a high street, getting maximum exposure, lovin the life your livin’?  Maybe not, because now you have a horde of fans who you don’t really know. Are they friends or enemies? Some of your friends will actually be enemies, lauding over the coveted front passenger seat, your own personal ‘scrub’, jealous and proud in equal measure. Others that were seemingly enemies are now friends just because they have the same kind of status ride as you. You don’t really know these people and it seems pretty flimsy that you now talk because of something so…shallow! But talk you will, in shopping car parks or at car washes you will have the kinds of conversation that includes phrases like, ‘what’s your MPG?’, ‘Has she a DOHC?’ ,’Six cylinder V8, right?’, and ‘how does she hold at 120?’ All said under the gaze of admiring glances. Ever notice how status car drivers’ crew together in public places like car parks and car washes, removing themselves from the general populous who dare to drive Toyota Corollas and Ford anything’s?

But moving on, you do get used to this new way of being and start to live your life in a constant state of not knowingness, aka Hidden Extra 3. You don’t know if your new group of friends like you or your riches; your new girl is into you or the colour map feature on your Lexus dashboard; and whether or not that group of guys across the street are admiring your rims or preparing to jack you! After a while these things can play on your mind and can inform your decisions to drive with a baseball bat under the seat, and a 9mm in the glove box, centrally locked into your own platinum plated prison with the world passing viewed through your own wide screen windscreen, your portal into the dangerous world outside. This extravagant, well earned purchase, meant to signify freedom, in a way actually becoming quite the opposite.

I remember the first service I got for my brand new Jeep a few years ago. It was a Ice black, tinted windows, big wheels, booming sound system, plush all leather interior, (just thinking about it now makes me horny!). Anyway, the mechanic told me with a broad smile on his face, that I needed three new tyres…three fuckin tyres! How the fuck did I need three tyres? I can understand needing two at a time, but three? Anyway a trip to the tyre shop stood me at over £600! I had gotten use to the car itself being a mortgage payment…but the accessories as well? The electric door mirror that got busted by another driver…£300, the torn leather behind the passenger seat (a parting gift from one of my god children)…£100. The scratches on the bumper…£250. It felt like these figures were getting plucked out of thin air, but they were very real indeed. Just last week I heard about a guy whose £60,000 BMW left him stranded after a night out because it couldn’t drive on the icy roads, being a rear wheel drive. This dude had to walk home because his ‘super palace chick magnet’ on wheels, was not fully equipped for the British weather. For that same price he could have bought at least a dozen cars that could have made that journey quite easily, in fact, for that same price he should have been given another car with its own fuckin chauffeur!

I do not write to discourage all you out there that like a nice ride, that like to be seen in the right vehicle and would sooner drive a Masserati and live in a council flat than buy a ‘good enough’ vehicle and own your own home. I fully understand the feeling you get when you are behind the wheel of something that turns heads, that gives you status, and makes you feel important, because life is hard enough and full of people that will ignore you given half the chance anyway. I get it. They fulfil a need in the narcissistic world in which we now live.

But don’t forget those hidden costs, those things that do not come in the brochure, or are talked about in the marketing campaigns that are there simply to entice and enthral you. These are the very things that will bring your dream purchase back to reality, and that’s not a bad place to be. Me?, for now I am happy just strolling along with a smile on my face being connected. It may rain from time to time, and I may get wet, but at least I know who’s pissing on me!

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