In the past when my husband has bought a car, like most men, he researches thoroughly, asks friends and family for input, goes for test drives, and once he has made an informed decision, he purchases the car. All this is done with my knowledge, but I take no part in the proceedings whatsoever since I know as much about cars as my husband does regarding making delicious crêpes Suzette! You get the picture; we both stick to the areas we know best.
However times have changed, and so have our needs. When buying a car, what are the specifications you look for? I'm sure the first is manual verses automatic, saloon or hatchback, Hybrid; the variables in today's market with astounding technology are vast. We opted for a small hatchback that sits high, making it far easier for a disabled person to get into, and this is where I enter the "buying a car " picture, for the first time in all the years we've been married. The most important feature we now look for, is a boot large enough to store my wheelchair.
Looking at enticing glossy magazines and brochures, that probably cost a small fortune to print, not to mention how many trees were destroyed creating this printed matter; are handed out freely to whoever shows the slightest interest in a car showroom. Every little detail you can possibly imagine is listed; fog lights, heated rear window, electric windows, width of tyres, not forgetting extremely important cup holders and petrol consumption to name but a few. However do you think it mentioned anywhere in all the brochures, if a standard size wheelchair would fit in the boot? No it did not!
Considering a large percentage of the population use wheelchairs, one would have thought this fairly useful information would be mentioned somewhere in a prospect, or at the very least a sales person would know which ones are large enough to stow a wheelchair. Surely companies whose cars have boots able to hold a wheelchair, could use this added information as a selling point. Nevertheless let's be realistic; pictures of sexy women draped over the bonnet, baby strollers or golf clubs sell cars, but understandably wheelchairs do not! I get it, I really do, but they could add a little line somewhere, or put the disabled symbol indicating the car's versatility.
We ended up visiting several different car showrooms (whose names I shall discreetly refrain from mentioning) but size and shape can be highly deceiving, and many cars we saw, at first glance appeared spacious, until we tried to fit my wheelchair in the boot. Most did not pass the test.
Finally we found a small automatic hatchback, that despite it's misleadingly small appearance at first glance, my wheelchair fitted in perfectly, and were able to close the boot easily. The car sits fairly high, making it easy for me to get in and out, the seats are very comfortable; it even has cup holders and all sorts of other gadgetry that is far more exciting to my darling husband than it is to me!
My husband and I are great fans of the popular television show "Top Gear", and have possibly watched every episode. Jeremy Clarkson has one of the most fun cool jobs in the world that many men could dream of, but maybe if he could tear himself away from blowing up caravans and driving amazing cars the majority of us could never afford; he would like to tackle the car industry and recommend they add this important information to their brochures. I'm sure it would be very much appreciated, and save a lot of people all the time that we spent in search of the right car whose boot would hold a wheelchair.
Insomnia being one of the many symptoms of Parkinson's, I had to laugh when I heard Jeremy Clarkson say, and I quote: "Whenever I'm suffering from insomnia, I just look at a picture of a Toyota Camry and I'm straight off." I'm glad it works for you Jeremy, but doubt this would help anyone suffering insomnia due to Parkinson's. Some people count sheep, some picture a Toyota Camry and others like me depend on medications to get a few hours shut eye. I believe it was Shakespeare who wrote the famous line: "To sleep perchance to dream", but however you fall asleep - may you have sweet dreams tonight!