13th May, 2001.

Sensible blue car.

I have a new car! Well, when I say new, I mean new to me, not fresh off the production line new. It's another Cavalier and is 12 years old, but for just a hundred and fifty 'quid' (£150) it was a bargain even by my standards of cheap cars.

No money actually changed hands though. The car was part of a debt pay off, and the MOT (vehicle safety) test plus the welding needed to get it through that, was paid for by me offering to design the garage's website for free. That might sound to you some sketchy deal, but in fact, this car is the most sensible vehicle I have ever owned.

It's got anti-lock braking, power steering, fuel injection, central locking, a sunroof, electrical heated and operated mirrors, and best of all... electric windows. I have never had a car with electric windows before and I can't tell you how satisfying it is to keep putting them up and down.

Perhaps the fact that I am so excited about having a car with electric windows will demonstrate just how bad all my previous vehicles were. Even the last car I had (which by my standards was considered as sensible), had the annoying habit of filling the passenger side footwell with water when it rained. But not my new car. No, this new car is pretty classy for me! Perhaps though, it is about time I had a sensible car though. A four-door hatchback with electric windows is surely what all sensible folk my age should be driving. I could fit my kids, my wife, our dog, and the in-laws in this car at a push! However, there is one small thing lacking from my new found sensibleness.... that would be the statutory kids, wife, dog, and in-laws. Somehow I have managed to stave them off up to this point, but maybe the worm has turned? Maybe the sensible blue car with electric windows is the landmark that will hail an all-new sensible period in the life of Simon Jones. After all, I am 30 now!

I suppose now that I have a sensible car I should consider getting a sensible house. Maybe a nice new home with a postage stamp garden and squeaky clean professional neighbors that I'd never get to know.

My stereo needs replacing, so maybe I should go down to the local Dixons or Curry's and ask some spotty-faced 16-year-old assistant for a new 'music centre'. I could request one that only goes up to five on the volume as ten is just not responsible or required for a gentleman my age. I could go to Borders and by a Crosby Stills Nash and Young CD to play on Sunday afternoons just before I lapse into a 'podgy sleep' on a sensible new couch. Of course, radio habits will have to be changed to. No more listening to WFNX or KROQ over the internet. No more Radio 1 and the 'essential selection'. No, I should find a nice easy listening station where they have 'presenters' rather than 'DJ's' and where Elton John and Phil Collins are still played openly and without ridicule.

Trips to GAP will be replaced by trips to Marks and Spencers or British Home Stores and Sundays will no longer be for recovering from the antics of a Saturday night, no sir! Now Sundays will be reserved for outings to the garden centre and DIY hardware store.

I mustn't forget a must-have accessory for a middle-aged man in the UK. I need a wife and small child. As I see it this is the most disturbing of all life's little 'upgrades'. She would have been once a slim stunner who was noisy in bed. But with a ring on her finger a kid sleeping close by, she's now a slightly overweight Mom who is only noisy in bed when she's snoring! Something that the middle-aged man might find upsetting if he wasn't so tired from looking after the small child that 'made life complete' a few years ago.

Is becoming more sensible and mature really something I want to do? From the sounds of it maybe not. Maybe I'll get there one day, but I can't help feeling that 'sensible' is just a word that someone dreamed up when boring became overused.

I should point out that the whole 'married with children' lifestyle is not something I am looking down on in any way as a lifestyle choice. It's just not for me at this stage of my life. Maybe one day I'll get there, but not right now.

There is something to save me though. The new car has a sketchy hinge on the passenger door than means passengers are required to slam it closed. I was going to fix that, but perhaps doing that would just be one step too close to a life of BBC Radio 2 and Sunday afternoons pretending to be asleep on the couch.


[Nine months after publishing this 'Meanwhile' my sensible car expired 400 miles from home. Like nearly all of the cars I've owned, it ground to a dramatic halt on the road before being towed to a scrapyard where its good bits were salvaged by men with dirty hands.]