For a little while I owned a second hand Alfa Romeo. It was a wonderfully frustrating little bastard - lovely drive, sexy etc, but you knew it's reliability was as trustworthy as a National Enquirer headline. Alfa owners say that's part if the experience but I was never one for masochism.
To be honest, I never felt comfortable in it. They say you need to see yourself in a car and we never really fit. This was all va va voom, brash self confidence, sexy curves and intense passion. I'm just an odd looking bloke, with a slight stammer, no hair and worrying obsession with tea.
I guess it's a bit like buying the kind of suit a suave, sophisticated player would wear, only to look in the mirror and seeing a crushingly ordinary person looking slightly more daft than usual.
So I got rid of it and bought a second hand Kia Rio (the one in the picture isn't THE one but looks identical). To be honest, there was an ulterior motive, I needed cash for something or other and quick, but it wasn't a struggle to make the swap, quite the opposite.
I owned that car for four years, I did 100,000 miles in it, with virtually no problems. It took me over the Pennines to Manchester every day. It never let me down. But more than that, I loved what people said about it.
So many people couldn't understand why I wasn't embarrased owning this clunky, Korean monstrosity. Many laughed, it became something of an in-joke. But I didn't mind that, in fact I loved it.
On one level, that car represented me beginning to care a lot less about what the things I owned said about me, and being far more bothered about what I did. If people judge me by how I look, or by owning the right labels, symbols or whatever else, I say balls to them.
Put another way, that car is about becoming comfortable in your own skin and coming to terms with who you are rather twhat others want or what you've deluded yourself into.
That's important for surviving in this industry, especially as a planner. A big ego gets in the way.
On a more general level, I don't care where you've worked, what you've done and who you know. I have no interest in what people wear, only what they can do and what they're interested in.
It's better to ignore what the cognoscenti will think about your work, only what the client thinks and not even that really.....the people you're trying to sell things to. That's why I go into orbit when people slag off Try Something New Today as not that creatively exciting. Bollocks, it does the job it's supposed to do and then some. It's genuinely useful to the people it's aimed at and cares about what they care about. I say that's good and if some git in skinny jeans and converse doesn't get that, well good, there's more space for people who want to be good rather than cool.
Anyway, eventually the Kia died and had to be replaced by a Honda Civic. I love that car too, but not in the way I loved my little, modest, shambolic Kia.