For the first time this millennium I am not a Lotus owner. Doesn't sound too serious, but indulging myself in some outrageous drama queenery (and not for the first time it must be said), it is a realisation that is more difficult than I would have thought to come to terms with.
Sure, the four cars from the marque that I have owned in that time, plus one replica in the form of my much-missed Westfield Eleven (argue among yourselves over whether I should be allowed to include that), are hardly going to trouble the numbers stacked up by serious marque addicts, but they still left an indelible impression on me.
Checking some dates reveals that for most of the last 15 years, I have in fact had two Lotuses at any one time… and now there are none.
And how do I judge their impact? Not so much by the treasured memories and pictures I cherish from those years with Elan, Elise, Elite and Elan +2 as by the myriad peripheral ways they seem to have infiltrated my daily life.
For example, I logged on to ebay the other day and noticed that my entire persona on there was Lotus related. My user name, my password, even my avatar. Same deal when I 'bought' Christmas on Amazon a couple of weeks ago.
Similarly, the dinky little pictures that accompany my presence on both Twitter and Facebook are a Guy Allen cartoon of me driving the +2 that I parted with last month to finally leave me Lotus-less. The Elan+2 that's already up for sale for £3k over what was paid for it I might add, but it doesn't do to rake over the coals and torture yourself in that way, not least because they are unlikely to get that for it (I know, I failed to get a lot less all summer!).
Coming into work today, there was another bunch of reminders because, thanks to the system logging me out of everything over the festive season, I discovered just how many passwords et al are Lotus related.
Add to that all the usual stuff – books, models, prints, boxes of spares in the garage etc – and there is still clearly a strong Lotus presence in my life, just not a presence that I can sit in and drive.
Which presents me with something of a dilemma. With the physical presence of the cars gone, do I "out" myself as an ex-Lotus owner – no longer one of that select fold – and change or eradicate all these little 'virtual' remnants of my past? Or do I hold on to these meaningless cyber-trinkets for memory's sake, or just in case another Lotus comes along sooner than I think?
Actually, I've seen this very nice Excel...