My first encounter with Purple Car was really weird.
It was our first date, and we were in a car. After an hour of kissing, she hauled out a purple leather. ...
Ooops. Ooops. And ooops! Wrong column! And wrong car!
No, this is about my two-year-old's favourite dinky, not a night when a stranger wanted to get kinky.
Apologies for the gaffe, and for just committing a rhyme. Har, har, har. ...
Anyway, the boy asked for this car one night while getting his diaper changed.
When I passed it to him, I could have sworn it was purple. But once his bum was changed, I looked in his hand and was puzzled to find the car was now ... blue.
Since this is the Family section of a family newspaper, I'll resort to text-messaging lingo to properly express my reaction to the chameleon car: "WTF."
But it turns out I hadn't eaten rotten salt beef or experienced a late-night NTV moment. And there was no need to call in Jake Doyle.
No, the car changes colours with body heat.
It's purple when left alone, but becomes blue shortly after being picked up.
Although unsure of the purpose, it's Fonzie-level cool.
The car has since become a regular part of my life - not because I've claimed it as my own, but because my boy has to have it on him at ALL times.
And that means I have to be prepared to search for it and retrieve it at ALL times, whether six in the morning or seven at night, or whether we're eating supper, taking a bath, walking out the road or studying proton transfer from one molecule to another. (He's going to be a bright one, I tell ya!)
"I want Purple Car," he'll say.
"Where is it?" I'll ask.
"Daddy find it?" he'll command.
We were spending (wasting) so much time looking for it, we bought a second one and became a two purple car family.
Then we had two to find!
It almost dropped back to one Saturday.
The boy and I were out for a walk and he asked to push his tricycle instead of ride it.
The seat of the bike was reserved for Purple Car.
On a side street, we came across a water-filled pothole the size of Conception Bay. He pushed his tricycle into it with gusto - and Purple Car fell off and in the hole.
The muddy water was the colour of chocolate milk (his description) and we couldn't see his dinky.
The boy wasn't very happy.
Neither was I when I had to kneel on the pavement and try fishing it out.
With the sleeve of my winter jacket rolled up, I scoured the pothole with my hand over and over.
Small chunks of asphalt were the only things I touched.
The kid was getting more and more anxious about his beloved car. So was I, because people were driving and walking by, likely wondering why a stranger was on his knees with his hand in a pothole.
If explanation is a sign of weakness, I was undoubtedly weak.
One woman passed and I told her what was going on.
"You'll probably find a real car in that hole," she quipped.
After numerous att-empts, I found nothing, and called off the search. I broke the news to my boy.
"Daddy find it. Daddy find it. Daddy find it."
His heart was breaking, so I gave it one last shot.
And this time I found it - under the asphalt edge as if someone had jammed it up there by hand.
The excited look in my son's eyes was worth the effort, although I'm not sure how he distinguished between the car and my hand.
Both were the exact same colour.
Steve Bartlett has been singing Prince's "Purple Rain" since this incident. His family is absolutely thrilled, but relieved it's not James Blunt's "You're Beautiful." Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SteveBartlett_.