Recently I was at a friend's house party. This in itself isn't unusual, but the fact I was having a genuinely good time certainly was.
The atmosphere was convivial, the canapes moreish, and the company engaging, but there was more to it than that. For the first time ever, I was recognised by someone I didn't know.
"You're the car guy, aren't you?" suddenly exclaimed the female partner of the couple I'd been chatting to. "You drive around in lots of nice cars -- wow, it's great to meet you. What are you in tonight?"
I did my best to hide my all-too-apparent embarrassment by describing the Firenze Red Defender sat outside, catching a glimpse of my reflection and noticing my cheeks had turned a similar shade to the Land Rover.
I also became acutely aware that everyone else within earshot of the conversation had turned to hang on my every word about the Landie's cramped cabin and phenomenal go-anywhere ability. Even my gag about towing the Pennines farther north raised a titter.
"So this is what it's like to feel like a celebrity?" I mused mentally.
I'd have to be careful here, because I was getting so deep into my whole repartee about the fastest, most expensive, largest, most frugal vehicles I'd piloted that I almost wouldn't have noticed my phone ringing from the guys at Iceland's advertising agency offering me the chance to promote prawn rings.
Abruptly, the amusing anecdotes and general jollity ended, and as silence reigned, my audience of information-hungry, newbie motoring enthusiasts waited with baited breath for my measured response. Except there wasn't to be a moment of enlightenment from my answer for I had been asked that question. You know the one...
"What's your favourite car, then?"
It might have been conjured out of well-meaning inquisitiveness, but for a car guy, there isn't as answer. How can there possibly be one answer?
"I don't have one," I reported.
"Oh, you must do!"
"No, I really don't. Do you have a favourite colour?"
"Then why aren't all your clothes that colour then?"
The quietness that filled the air was broken seconds later by a hushed "aaah" of understanding from the collected guests, before they returned to their prior conversations and I was left to talk about anything other than cars.
Sure, I could have made something up. I'd have mentioned the Citroen SM, but so few would know what I was on about that I'd have just sounded like a geek. And I couldn't say anything too new or obvious or I wouldn't have sounded anoraky, enough and my credibility and allure would have ended up down the waste disposal unit along with a sausage roll that had been on the floor.
No, I stood firm, and spoke from the heart. Next time you hear someone give a definitive answer to that question, you know a car guy he ain't.