I found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place today. I jumped into an unfamiliar car (not illegally – I wasn’t joyriding – I’m fifty odd you know – and you don’t need to get bogged down with the detail. Suffice to say it was a car with which I was not familiar and let’s just leave it at that, because frankly it’s just after 11pm and we’ve all had a hard day, emotions are running high and we all need some kip, so the sooner we get this story over and done with the sooner we can all get some shut eye) (syntax confusion again – sorry – I’m just going to start a new sentence and paragraph and hope for the best that you can work out where one set of brackets finishes and another starts).
Here’s the new sentence, and indeed paragraph. So I jumped into an unfamiliar car. Now usually I’m fine with a manual transmission given that my own vehicle is an automatic (just one of several quirky features including a passenger door which requires prising open with a kirby grip if a passenger unfamiliar with the passengerdoorquirk squeezes the handle which would be the usual modus operandi for entering a vehicle as a passenger but in the case of my car necessitates the following passive aggressive one sided exchange:
Me: “oh just FYI don’t squeeze the passenger door handle from the outside because… oh you’ve already squeezed it right hang on, let me get out of the car, stomp over to your side in the pissing rain and deploy the kirby grip kept in my bra for just such an emergency”
*STAB STAB STAB THE PASSENGER TO DEATH WITH THE KIRBY GRIP AND DRIVE OFF WITHOUT A BACKWARD GLANCE*
Righto for the third time…I jump into the unfamiliar car, start her up after performing the usual perfunctory checks like adjusting the rear view mirror to ensure that it is indeed correctly angled for both admiring self and seeing out of the back window, and proceed to drive off. Reach for handbrake. There isn’t one. At this stage my feet are confused as to what pedals are the clutch and the brake (non drivers – I realise this story is probably over your head so feel free to go and oh I don’t know do an online Tesco shop or some shit). I search in vain for the handbrake. I search again for the handbrake. Notice a bizarre lever under steering wheel that has a big letter P on it. Pull it. Hear clunky sound. Assume handbrake now disengaged. Breathe sigh of relief. Realise am pointing down a slight slope and there’s a car 3 inches in front. Further realise that have forgotten what to do next, flummoxed by the whole “lever marked P” thing. Decide to engage handbrake and start again. Remember there is no handbrake. (Feet still on clutch and brake – they decide that now is a good time to feel a bit numb). Grab lever marked P. Do a bit of pushing and pulling to no avail. Feel like am in film Speed like housewives’ favourite Keanu Reeves (or was it Sandra Bullock driving the bus?). Panic. Phone a friend. Friend comes.
“Get out”, says he. “I’ll deal with it”
“Can’t get out” says I, “feet on clutch and brake”.
“Oh” says he, climbing in to passenger side (thankfully there’s no stab inducing door quirk or I’d be there yet, crying in a pool of my own wee)
Friend, who knows thing or two about cars beyond my tyre kicking and mirror adjusting knowledge, mooches around the driver footwell. Spots a fourth pedal.
“Put your foot on that pedal”, says he.
“Can’t” says I. “I’ve only got two feet and they’re both kinda busy stopping me hurtling into that Ford Fiesta three inches away”.
“Trust me, says he. “Knock the car out of gear, foot off clutch and on to that fourth pedal”
“What’s the clutch again?” says I, now paralysed with anxiety and wishing a policeman, or my mum*, or YOUR mum, or somebody who can make this fandango stop, would walk past.
“Your left foot” says he, unhelpfully.
I eventually remember what my clutchfoot is and try to move it with the power of my mind (foot numb). Somehow manage to remove it and gingerly push the weird fourth pedal. FINALLY!
Allow friend (don’t know why I’m not talking in sentences but it’s too late to start now) to reverse car further up road away from collision course towards Ford Fiesta. I get back in and practice the procedure for disengaging and engaging the nonexistent fucking handbrake which seems to require all my limbs and some I don’t have (hurry UP, evolution) and drive off. Arrive at destination half an hour later having worried for whole journey about stopping car. Realise have forgotten procedure so drive to a flat bit of road and sit for what seems like an eternity before basically just stalling the car.
I don’t need this kind of shit in my life. Funny thing is I had a premonition that something would happen before leaving the office but a) I’m a catastrophist and b) it’s probably just confirmation bias, which is a thing I’m now applying to everything since I read about it.
*this would be an Easter miracle.