James Proclaims (4)

I drive a 2007 silver Ford Ka. It is not the coolest car in the world.

Still I quite like it. I live in Reading after all, a town that is perennially beset with traffic problems, so even if I owned a Ferrari, I’d be stuck in the same slow-moving one-way system. Plus I couldn’t get a Ferrari onto the tiny patch of land that the estate agent tried to convince me was ‘off-road’ parking when I bought my house.

You couldn’t even give me a Ferrari, that’s how little I want one. (Obviously that’s complete nonsense; if you’re reading this and have a spare Ferrari that you’d like to give away then please do get in touch.)

Yes I’m very much a fan of my car, which I call the J-Mobile, on the basis that my other half and I both have first names beginning with J (see what we did there?). Technically it’s the J-Mobile 2. The first J-Mobile was a 2002 blue Ford Ka. It looked identical apart from the colour, to the extent that I was mercilessly mocked by my then students when I turned up to school one morning in my ‘new car’. They genuinely thought I’d bought it because I prefer silver to blue. Things like lower mileage mean nothing to secondary school kids.

To be fair, aside from significantly less miles on the clock and a suspension system that wasn’t shot, there was little to distinguish the two J-Mobiles at face value.

Nonetheless, the blue Ka had reached a point where it was more expensive to maintain it than it was actually worth so the scorn of my pupils was misplaced. But these are the same young people who subsequently decided I was quite cool because I wore a Superdry jacket and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt on a ‘dress down day’. Which is pretty superficial.

Then again, I wore those clothes specifically because I knew it would make the kids think I was cool, so who was the more shallow?

The kids of course, I was just trying to give myself an advantage in the dog-eat-dog world of secondary school maths teaching.

Anyway the current J-Mobile has a defect that the old one didn’t. It’s a small problem most of the time, but it is only possible to unlock the driver-side door from the interior, so you can only gain access to the vehicle via the passenger side. A minor irritation at times. Occasionally problematic when other cars park too close to the passenger door.

It has yielded one surprising positive. When my wife and I are travelling together, I always have to let her in first, so she can then let me in. It’s an entirely practical arrangement but it does make me look quite chivalrous.

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