Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Driving Force

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Driving Force

Article excerpt

It offers a multisensory experience like no other. Sunlight accentuates every seductive curve of its aerodynamically sculpted body. In the dust-free interior, the scent of new plastic and vinyl overpowers the olfactory system. The eco-intelligent power unit purrs like the cat that got the cream and fell asleep on a duck-feather duvet.

Nothing attracts a gathering of salivating males like the arrival of a shiny new car on a quiet suburban avenue. What man could resist that heady mix of eroticised metal and testosterone-fuelled banter? Even men like me, who rarely watch Top Gear and have little practical or technical knowledge of the workings of an internal combustion engine, are drawn irresistibly towards it.

But even as we congratulate Mrs Fraught on her automatic door mirrors with integrated indicators, we remember how she lost her previous ones. Those gate posts have a lot to answer for but they aren't the main reason her old car looked like a victim of automotive abuse. Keeping a vehicle in pristine condition is easy for mono-tasking old men, but for busy working mums it's a different story. The School Run Derby, the Late for Work Time Trial and the Supermarket Dash soon sort the girls from the boys.

I smile and advise Mrs Fraught to make the most of her moment of high-gloss glory. We both know that by darkest December her shiny new car will blend in with winter's grime, its stylish interior a repository for assorted sweet wrappers. …

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