Monday, 27 June 2011
I Love My Car
Today I took the car to the metal bashers. I love my car, and its pure blackness. Its sense of immutability and the reassurance I get every time I turn the key and its highly tuned engine chugs into life.
It comes as somewhat of a shock when I find some inperfection has been visited on its paint work. The other day, as I was loading the Coidan's weekly shop into the back I discovered some scuff marks. White ones - I had visions of a White Van Man bumping my car out of the way as he delivered yet another 50 inch, 3D TV.
Yesterday, I noticed a gash in my bumper, on the driver's side. It wasn't that bad but I was traumatised. It needed to be fixed. So today I went off to my local car repair shop. Lovely people, I've used them for years whenever my vehicle has suffered trauma.
I was quoted £120 to put things right and however much it cost to replace the wing mirror. Oh sorry hadn't mentioned that before.
In the past wing mirrors were rigid, made of metal and extremely attractive. That was when only Stirling Moss and his mates were on the road and cars could pass with an acre between them. As the roads became busier and the curbs were clogged up with cars wing mirrors suffered terribly. Ripped from their moorings as half drunk motorists misjudged the gap. Until some bright spark invented the collapsible wing mirror. If someone hit it head on it just folded and when you parked you folded them in so that neither car nor pedestrian could thwack 'em.
But the genius that designed the wing mirror hadn't counted on the cyclist.
The cyclist hates the car, he hates everything about the car - especially the nonsensical behaviour of cars at traffic lights, they stop when the light is red. You've spent hours getting your bike up to optimal speed. You're passing taxis, posers in BMWs, old ladies in Datsuns and ministers in Mercs. In your mind you'll be home before those losers have left the grid - and then the f****** lights turn red. And some dork in a black car with green tinted windows cuts you up.
What do you do. You remonstrate with the old fart who obviously passed his test in a field in darkest Wiltshire. The old fart smiles, but his wife indicates fairly obviously her view of the cyclist's parentage. The old fart continues to smile.The silent argument continues between the wife and cyclist until the cyclist dismounts his trusty steed and approaches said car with wife in it. Said wife winds down the window and a slanging match ensues.
The next thing the cyclist slams the wing mirror, the glass falls out and shatters. The old fart is alarmed: not at the broken mirror but at the sight of his wife unbuckling herself and climbing out of the car to land one on the cyclist.
It is 7:45 pm in the centre of London and old fart and rather worked up and half out of the car wife are on their way - it is hoped - to a 70th birthday party. And the lights change - cyclist scurries off, wife is dragged back into car, having picked up the shattered mirror, and the black car with green tinted windows finds itself heading in the completely wrong direction to the birthday bash.
The couple arrive 2 minutes before 8 pm - the last to arrive, flushed and near side wing mirrorless.
The dinner is a sea of tranquillity. Memories of first meetings at school 56 years before: honours awarded; citations received. Wine flows, except the old fart can't drown his disappointment at losing his much viewed wing mirror: he has to drive home.
Hopefully, unaccompanied by cyclists!