Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Farewell, Ford Mondeo

FORGET oil, diamonds or the mysterious underground gas that's been getting you so fracking angry lately. I reckon the world’s most valuable commodity is attention.

Studies have shown that while attention occurs naturally in all human brains – even the ones of reality TV stars – it runs out completely if you try to mine it for more than about 45 minutes or so. Once that’s gone, all you’re left with a dangerous void of mentally planning your next holiday, pondering the plot of Sherlock and wondering whether you really did lock your front door when you left the house this morning.

Even a few seconds of not having an abundant supply of attention at your disposal can cause all sorts of problems. I know this, because that’s roughly how long it took for another driver to write my FordMondeo off beyond repair.

Regular readers might recall how proud I was to finally depart the 1990s and plump my posterior onto the leather lined throne of something modern for a change. The 2.0 litre Ghia X might have been 12 years old but it came stashed with an armada of gizmos so extensive it’d make viewers of The Gadget Show proud. Electric seats and an electric sunroof. Cruise control and a six CD autochanger. It had all of these things, and just about everything else besides.

Yet none of these gadgets could have prevented its fate on that dark evening in deepest Peterborough, as I gradually drew to a stop on the approach to a roundabout somewhere near the A1. The only clue I had that a rather rushed sales manager was about to indulge in a spot of creative parking – as in parking his company 3-Series half a foot into the Mondeo’s rear bumper – was the fleeting glimpse of a set of headlights in the rear view mirror, racing towards me through the darkness.

It is, to my mind, the worst kind of collision you can be involved in; the sort which you can do absolutely nothing about, other than watch it happen. You can be the best driver in the world (which, incidentally, I’m definitely not) and it still isn’t going to stop an errant Audi ploughing into your pride and joy. 

For the sake of driving too fast, too close and not nearly attentively enough, you end up causing weeks of headaches for people you’ve never met. In fact, having a car written off through no fault of my own is getting off lucky; what would have happened if Beemer Boy had been doing the full 70mph he was legally entitled to on that stretch of road?

So the Mondeo is gone. Luckily, I’m not.

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