James Griffin 's Opinion

James Griffin is a columnist for Canvas magazine.

James Griffin: Let's get this project on the road

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On-the-go project of buying a new car. Photo / Thinkstock
On-the-go project of buying a new car. Photo / Thinkstock

I've got a bit of a project on the go.

It's good for us blokes to have a project on the go. It makes us feel like we're useful and meaningful, and also that we're part of a tribe; the tribe being Blokes Who Have Projects On The Go. Having projects on the go is very good for our self-esteem.

Like many bloke-initiated projects on the go, I haven't started my project yet. This is because I am in the intensive "thinking about my project" stage of the project - a stage that can take some time and is often mistaken for inactivity. It is, however, the most crucial stage of project management in that if I screw up the "thinking about my project" stage, the whole project is in danger of falling apart.

The project about which I'm thinking (and is therefore on the go) is this: at some stage this year I am going to buy a new car.

Okay, sure, as far as projects on the go go, buying a car is not exactly up there with building an Olympic-sized swimming pool in my backyard, but it is still a legitimate project, worthy of care and consideration.

It is not something that can be done on a whim. Well, yes, it can. But then I know people who went out to buy a car and, on a whim, bought a house instead. So you can see how easily buying a car, when done without due diligence, can go very wrong.

The outgoing car is a Falcon station wagon. It parked up outside our place when the kids were in their Wiggles years, so it was known as the Big Red Car. Then, as they grew, it morphed into the Millennium Falcon. Now we have a people-mover to move all our people and it just seems odd to have two vehicles of similar dimensions, so it is time for the Falcon to leave the nest.

But what to replace it with is the question that is chewing up an unfeasibly large portion of my already addled brain. With the range of options open to me, it is entirely conceivable due diligence will go on for years - especially given I am a Libran and therefore incapable of choosing between two vastly different things, let alo ne a myriad subtle automotive possibilities.

There is, for example, a certain make of German automobile that, if you believe their advertising/propaganda, looks pretty darn good. But the problem with this brand, for me, is that when it comes to dickheads (both male and female) on the road, it runs rings round every other car for moronic driving behaviour. Yes, it is a very unscientific survey (in that it is just me noticing stuff) but so frequent have been the incidents of idiotic driving I have witnessed involving this particular brand of car, that I have started to wonder if when you buy one of them you have to sign an oath swearing you will from here on in drive like a complete muppet. So if I buy one will I have to sign this oath and therefore turn into something I abhor?

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Even before we get to the question of brand, the question of what sort of vehicle has yet to be, well, sorted. I have, at least, ruled out the tragic middle-aged mid-life crisis sports-car option on the grounds that:

(a) it is tragic;
(b) my kids will want to drive it when they get old enough and no way am I letting that happen; and
(c) the ones I like are way too expensive.

Unfortunately, after this one ray of certainty in the overcast sky of my doubt, I am back to being at a complete loss. Should I acknowledge the fact this is also a family vehicle by going for one of those crossover urban semi-SUV like things? Or should I pretend I am acknowledging it and actually go for one of those sporty hatchback type things that pretend to be family cars while really speaking to the buyer, like me, who longs for the fun cars he used to drive? Do I care enough about the environment to sacrifice my dignity and go for a hybrid? Or should I say to hell with it and blow my budget on a muscle-car that is both completely impractical and also raises a middle finger to both the planet and to the concept of aging gracefully?

As you can see I have quite the project on the go here, so if you'll excuse me I need to go think about it for a bit longer. Well, a lot longer really - as long as some knob in an Audi doesn't run me over on a pedestrian crossing.

- NZ Herald

James Griffin

James Griffin is a columnist for Canvas magazine.

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