Today has already been a good day. I find that being a fickle human being I only need one or two things to make a day stand out and today I have seen a 5 year old boy called Hector chase the comic Matthew Highton around in circles trying to lick his arm. Regardless of what else today brings, that’s happened. Which makes a marked change from yesterday which I may well mark in my life’s diary as one of those days I’ll remember as being properly shit for some time. Oh it had good elements, yes indeedy and good company over the course of the day but the end result of a shit journey, shit gig and then a car prang was me feeling more miserable than Mr Sad on Blue Monday watching Dancer in the Dark.
The gig wasn’t fun – a microphone from a kid’s karaoke set, miserable front row of shower manufacturers, lights that were made to blind small mammals and the rudest staff ever. I mean who heckles a compere by sneaking in with back to the stage and giving someone a birthday cake mid-gag? Answer: only a prick – but the prang was the most miserable thing ever. I have had this car since Wednesday and already I have managed to fuck it up. In my life I’ve only ever had three scrapey car damage times and two of those weren’t my fault. I think this is pretty remarkable considering how many miles I drive, and is all testament to how awesome a driver I am. And I am. I often think of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man as he repeats ‘I’m an excellent driver’ over and over again, and add to this the thought that I am definitely a better driver than him on account of him being a fictional character, so that makes me properly awesome. I have had some near misses (this is a term that constantly upsets me. Surely a ‘near miss’ is a hit?) and using my incredible reflexes like a cat or a ninja or a cat ninja, I have dodged out of the way and averted myself and passengers from harm’s way in the nick of time. What I’m saying is that you know that film Driver? Well I hated that film, its shit. I’m the best Driver. I’m Driver Novello. I’m Minnie Driver. Ok. Not the last one.
This week I became owner of a car for the first ever time. I have always been a named driver on other people’s cars and never had enough money myself to have my own vehicle. Yep, get out the tiny violins. Nor did my parents ever have enough to buy me a car like some rich kids I went to uni with. What with comedian’s insurance being stupid, it always seemed the best choice just to jump on other people’s bandwagons, or more realistically, reasonably sized cars and use them were they my own. This Wednesday, all that changed and for the first time in my life, as a 30 year old man, I finally own a small Ford Ka all to myself. I haven’t experienced the excitement that some do when getting their first car partly on the account of me being a 30 year old man and partly, I think, because I’ve done all the things you can do with cars before and my life is a constant road of, er, roads anyway, so it doesn’t feel all that special. But like with any car, I’ve wanted to take care of it, and unlike any car, I actually have started to remove the rubbish from this one as it forms rather than 4 weeks later when its started to become alive.
So last night when I got a prang it ruined my day and pretty much my week and year. How can this happen to me only 2 days into new car time? On Shaftsbury Avenue at about 2am after a very long night of driving, I drove around a white van to get into the adjacent lane and as I did I heard the horrible noise of doom. That terrible scraping of metal on metal that you only get from car prangs. It doesn’t exist from any other metal on metal sounds, even when the Transformers fight, there is something less pained about the noise. It’s the metal resonance way of saying ‘you fucked up big time. Say goodbye to any savings you ever had.’ Matt Green, my ever patient passenger, cohort, top comedian and chum, wound down the window as the van driver got out, looked at my car, looked at his van, shrugged and went away. I hadn’t yet got out of the car and so had a huge sense of relief thinking that everything was fine and that perhaps the noise was just some Transformers fighting dirty nearby. Just as I was about to carry on with my journey another man came up to me and said ‘his van is fine, but your car is fucked.’ I decided that as the van had now left, so would I and deal with it later. It turned out the van had a big bit of metal sticking out of it’s side, and while I had given easily enough space to get around it, I hadn’t given enough space to the big bit of metal, which dug onto the passenger side and made a huge tear of shame.
I don’t understand why you would have a big bit of metal sticking out of the side of your vehicle? Or how you could so easily shrug as though everything is ok and then not and then fuck off? I can only presume this man’s job is to make people’s lives worse and he’s done this before. The car still drives, it just looks crippled. I am going to have to swallow all pride and ignore it. Or try and drive so that someone crashes into the same side and I can claim it off their insurance. So if you drive a nice car, make sure you pay good attention to where I’m driving in the country and avoid me. Its time I passed on the bad karma methinks. No, I’m not going to make a car-ma joke. Matt Green did that on Twitter last night and I won’t rise to it. Nope. Not at all.