"So, Mr Success, what are you driving these days?" asked a beaming purveyor of fine automobiles, adding, "Have I got a set of wheels that'll set you on fire!"
"Oh really?" was my jaded response.
"Yep," he continued, "you thought that Mercedes SL I once sold you had big balls, but wait till you drive the latest SLS AMG.
"It'll take you from 0 to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 317km/h," he exclaimed, while sitting opposite me at a cafe table.
"Wow!" I said, "but where do I put the wife and kids?"
"We're talking about transport that reflects your true personal status in the world," he retorted. "Surely your wife takes care of kids and baggage?" he suggested, nodding towards the caregiver's boring hatchback that had just pulled up at the cafe.
Recognising the purveyor of fine automobiles, she rebuked him as she joined us. "He doesn't need another car; he's quite content with what he's got."
"But does his present vehicle reflect his true social standing?" retaliated the purveyor smugly, giving me, the chronic autoholic, a knowing look.
"Well ..." I said slowly, "it's true I'm sort of happy with my present transport.
"But if I could negotiate a cashless swap, maybe it's worth pursuing."
"Now you're cooking!" murmured the purveyor. "Let's talk deals!" he continued with the enthusiasm of a Jack Russell sniffing prey.
"What are you currently driving?" he asked. "A truck," I answered. "A truck?" the purveyor replied, staring quizzically at me.
"Yes," I replied, "it's an old Mitsubishi diesel with a flat tray on the back."
"It's the first sensible automobile he's ever owned," added the caregiver.
"So, what do you drive when attending board meetings or for transporting important clients?" asked the mystified purveyor, sensing the ground slipping away from under his feet. "It's perfectly clean and presentable inside the cabin," the caregiver assured him.
"Look ... I'm happy to look at a trade, if your fancy roadster can handle the garden rubbish as well as the ute," I said, warming to the idea of a swap. Alas, at this point the negotiations abruptly broke down, the purveyor suddenly departing as he recalled an urgent appointment.
On reflection, I've decided I'm better off with an old truck, simply because tying down garden rubbish on something capable of 317km/h might present some logistical problems.By Peter Bromhead Email Peter