All that glitters is not gold

Let’s face it. We’ve all done it. At least once.

It’s so easy to get into a mindset where we become increasingly dissatisfied with ‘our lot’ reaching unwittingly for those rose-tinted glasses through which so much of what we see on social media must surely have been captured.

However, it’s human nature to want to better oneself and there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing the fruits of one’s labours boldly looking back at us in the shape of a shiny new purchase!

The first car I ever bought will always occupy a very special place in my heart. Not only was it a nippy little thing in a pretty purple colour – mercifully, with age, comes better judgement! – but it was what it represented that made it so precious to me. It was a symbol of my new-found independence and heralded my first foray into the world of paid employment. I’ve bought no less than seven cars since then, and although they have outperformed my humble little Clio on pretty much every single level (I mean, it had handles to ‘wind’ down the windows, for goodness sake!) not one has won my affection in the same way.

And people can be much the same. Some can make you feel instantly better for seeing them – exuding warmth, humour, and compassion – whilst others don all of the outward vestiges of confidence and success but fail to touch us in quite the same way.

I recently learned that a friend of mine had been (as they say) rather unceremoniously ‘traded in for a younger model’ and she was quick to show me a photo of the new ‘acquisition’. And (apart from some rather prominent body-coloured bumpers!) it was difficult to see the attraction. All of a sudden, my thoughts returned to the car that had won my affection all those years ago. It had faithfully taken me safely all over the United Kingdom (in high winds, snow, and fog) and, had it not eventually gasped its last on my mum’s front drive, I’d like to think that it would still have been with me today. For no other car (albeit blessed with a host of advanced electrical features) has ever been quite so dependable – or indeed so much fun to drive.

‘All that glitters is not gold’ by Gaynor Hall

She always looks so glamorous, bedecked from head to toe
In jewellery rich and sparkling and tones that make her glow.
Her hair is thick and glossy, a profusion of gentle curls
Which frame her dainty cheekbones whilst her generous lashes unfurl.

His smile exudes an arrogance – the cat that got the cream –
As upon his arm she simpers, doing wonders for his self-esteem.
They dart from table to table, simply desperate to advertise
To every other person there that he’s won the topmost ‘prize’.

They cut a striking figure as they glide across the floor,
Moving in perfect synergy as they chassé towards the door.
They step into a waiting limo, waving such fond goodbyes,
But as soon as the car is out of sight, she drops her clever disguise.

The demands start to tumble incessantly out, each one just a bit more unreasonable,
He weakly offers his assurances, though he’s not sure they’re actually feasible.
He watches as she snaps and snarls – transforming those dainty features
Into something far less alluring – akin to a vicious creature.

His thoughts drift back to times gone by, when the person at his side
Cared about his feelings – made him laugh until he cried.
She never asked for expensive gifts, preferring instead to play
Endless board games with him and the kids, bringing cheer to a rainy day.

He’d been foolish (he could see that now) simply wanting to spread his wings,
Getting caught up in his own vanity and seeking ‘better’ things.
Why hadn’t he seen the value in the life they’d built together?
A life where honesty and love so many storms had weathered.

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