My car died today! ‘The old slug’; that’s what I used to call her and every time I went in her I used to say a little prayer. I used to talk to her trying to maintain our relationship; patting the dashboard exclaiming that we are good friends and that she should keep her part of the deal up by just clocking up the miles.
When I used to take her on expeditions which wasn’t often we would pass by people that had broken down standing by their vehicles awaiting recovery I used to exclaim aloud “please don’t let that be me”. My hands are a little shaky now; all I’ve consumed today are 2 cups of coffee a tin of beans and a child’s portion of chips. My ex-girlfriend told me the other day that I play the poor man always and that I’m trying to draw attention to my woes constantly. I am not! I am down a dark shitty hole at the moment which is my own fault and my hands ache from trying to claw my way up. If only I had not been an obsessive gambler than maybe I would be sitting in front of the fireplace rolling on the floor with the kids. (Was I playing the poor man just now)?
My money will come through tomorrow morning (hardship fund) from the University; £150 that should keep me going for a while! And so for the time being I am just going to sit here and write in the warmth of Pete’s Eats café. I only want to charge my laptop up really so I can watch a film in bed later on; oh the excitement of my life nearly makes me spontaneously combust sometimes.
I feel like the character from Crime and Punishment (Raskolnikov) more and more these days, and sometimes I even contemplate buying a toy gun from Bargains Galore in Caernarfon to try and do a ‘stick-up’ somewhere, I lie in bed envisioning the plan every strategy goes through my head; even that will have to be put off now for I am carless. Doing a stick-up and making a getaway on foot is too foolish even for me, although on the other hand it’s so foolish it might work. First I would have to check out the bus timetable to see what time they are going and secondly I would have to be able to afford the bus; hang on I could pay for that with the money from the stick-up. Alright I’ve got it! I’ll hire one of those limousines that ladies hire when they are going out on their hen-nights, at least then I could make my getaway in style maybe getting carried away and throwing some of the money through the window as I pass by the bus stops. “Oh driver could you stop at Bargain Booze please, I need to stock up on cigars and alcohol PLEASE, and anything you like!”
Anyway back to the present and I have just been phoned by some publishing company. I got quite excited at first and then I realised it was because I had been on some website last evening and they had my details. At first the website seemed very promising as they always are you know saying things like “we take the hard work out of it” and all the other garb that’s affiliated with these sites. Finally after watching their little video and signing up to their website I arrived on the final page and there it was; basic package £760 pounds and then the prices continued upwards. Well someone from the company (a lady American, sickly) phoned me up, and to be honest with you my heart skipped a beat until it dawned on me why she was phoning. I instantly informed her that I had no money and she kept pecking at me with her persistent sales techniques. I felt like telling her about the current situation that I find myself in, but ended up just telling her that she was barking up the wrong tree if she wanted money. She kept on, for gods sakes! If only she could smell me over the phone then she would see that this is the odour of a person that does not have access to money. At any road I got rid of her and I did not do it in an abrupt manner because I have done that kind of job before and so I can empathise with her (well a little).
And so I was heading for Rhyl in the car because I was going to sell the last thing of value that I had. The car had been acting kind of funny for a little while now anyway; the heaters had conked out and it was doing the kangaroo motion when I started it up and so I had to rev the fuck out of it until it got going. Well today on the motorway a funny knocking noise decided to make its début just as we were nearing our destination, the power went as we were going up a hill and smoke plumed from out of the bonnet. “Oh fuckinell”, I rev her up pushing my foot down as far as it would go hoping that this would remedy the problem. No such luck, she was dying on me there and then. I was it seems a little naïve to think that I could fix the problem by merely slamming my foot down on the accelerator. Luckily we were headed down a bit of an incline and I managed to get her into some kind of layby before she spluttered to a sudden abrupt ending. I suspected that this was the last of her.
I had to phone my mother because she had donated the car to me because in these area’s you essentially need a car, that is if you do not want to squander the major part of your day waiting in bus stops for buses. Besides this I needed it to take the kids here and there. So she got on the blower and gave me a number to ring.
“Was the smoke black or white” “erm white I think”, I answer. “Do you know what’s the matter with it?” Goes the guy on the other end of the phone as I answer, “Well it’s broken”. I did not proclaim to be a mechanic and the chances are that if I were a mechanic then my car would probably be running O.K and then I wouldn’t need to phone to get road side assistance. It’s like when you phone 999 for emergency assistance and the person asks on the other end of the phone if you are the injured patient, and then they ask if you are unconscious, and you think to yourself if I’m the injured patient and I am unconscious then how the hell can I be phoning you? This is the way things have gone though, and you can’t rage against it because there’s nothing there to rage against, just a system; some other person whose fault it isn’t on the other end of the line, or some forms. Dead end roads that lead you to the ever familiar feeling, that you are just shit, at the bottom of a ladder.
I stand by the side of the car as the smoke bellows out! It’s cold and wintery and I am starved! Luckily I had left a tin of beans in the car with the foresight that times might get tougher. Well that thought had come home to roost and so I grab the tin of beans and snap off the lid with the ring-pull and proceed to slurp down the beans with much vigour; so much so that I actually inhale one of them and it makes me gag. I cough it back up and then swallow it again. A train passes by and I think to myself what a sorry sight I must look to the onlookers.
I went to the boot of the car because I remembered I had some of my work clothes in there, a pair of waterproof trousers and a lumber jacket. I put them on over what I was wearing already which was a long grey trench coat, jeans and a sheepskin hat and scarf. Well I must of looked nuts with the trench coat protruding out and flaring from underneath the lumber jacket. Last night I had watched a film called Mongol it was about Genghis Khan’s child hood and his rise to power. Well it inspired me and in it there were scenes of him walking for miles through the snow over the mountains and falling through ice into lakes and all the rest of it. I don’t watch many films to be honest with you so when I do they tend to have a lasting effect on me; you know like when you watched Goonies when you were a kid and instantly wanted to go out with your friends for some similar adventure or similarly thinking your some kind of karate expert after watching ‘Enter the Dragon’. Well anyway I stood there by the side of the road exclaiming to myself “come on Matt, this shit’s nothing”, pretending that I had some of Genghis Khan’s spirit in me to fend off the cold and the shitty situation in general. As I said it, it worked, and then after a short while it wore off and I started to shiver and curse the wind and rain, it seems that Genghis’s spirit was not strong enough, I’ll have to find a new one!
Finally the road side recovery man turns up and assess the damage “your head-gasket’s gone mate”! “Oh fuckinell, that’s bad”. It is bad you know, I have heard people talk of this happening and it is always in a bad light. “How much do you think it will cost to fix it?” “Well you won’t get much change from £500 mate”! I think that means it will cost about £500 to fix or there abouts.
After a brief discussion with my mother it is decided that scrapping the car is the best thing for it, and so I relay the instructions to the recovery man that we are to head for the scrap yard in Bangor. I noticed that he had a photo of his children in the cab of the van (three girls), and so I started a discourse on kids, he obliged and filled me in on his situation telling me of his daughter and her study’s in child care and this that and the other. I thought that he had the ideal set up being a constant father with a steady job and his life filled up with the comforts that all these things bring. It turns out that he had a daughter from a previous marriage, after he told me this he went a little quiet and withdrawn. In a strange way this made me feel better about myself.
We got to the scrap yard and weighed the car in. Not long after this I asked the woman in reception if I could get a bag off her to put all my possessions in. She told me that the car would have to be weighed-inn again and so I went back and shoved all the stuff that I wanted in. I couldn’t be arsed at this point so I just got the stuff that was most important. I told the lads that they could keep the rest, rigger boots, some golf clubs and bits and bobs; you know just shit that I had horded and thought would become useful one day; most of it was from my days of working on the skips. I got £110 for the car.
My mam turned up and drove me home and as I was leaving the car she asked me for the money- well it was only fair she did give me the car, but I thought she might let me keep it (kick in the balls, but justly so). And so I have just asked the guy in the café at what time they close and he told me “now”, and so I’ll have to go back to the refrigerated dark house and try to find a DVD to watch to set me off to sleep! So “goodbye cruel world.” Well at least until tomorrow!...........