Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Greta recently passed her DOE, and I, like the proud parent that I am, have been gloating about it to one and all. To listen to me harp on about the achievement, you'd swear that I built her myself, and hand tuned each part to perfection on the eve of the test to ensure she'd get through, when really all I did was replace one of the tyres (it was knackered, which may not be the most politically correct thing to say when talking about a Hiace) and give her a bit of a wash.
I had been meaning to give her a bit of a wash with a while, but could never really bring myself to do it. I bought her in February, then spent several months fluting about on mucky Irish back roads, and now it now coming towards the end of October, and it still didn't seem like the right time to visit the car wash. Rose Royce would be turning in her grave, except she's not dead, nor is she an actual person. Fortunately, as stated previously, the universe is a funny creature, and things have their own way of working out.
On the Friday night of the Jazz Weekend, I was driving home after a gig when I saw a tall brunette in tight black pants and a hot pink top lurch across the street about 20 yards ahead of me. As I was passing, she flagged me down asking for a lift home. I was about to explain I'm not a fuckin' taxi and I could do without her vomiting all over me and my van's interior thank you very much. It then occurred to me that as she was in such a state that she was willing to get into a van with a complete stranger, then perhaps it was not wise to leave her to fend for herself on the streets of Cork.
She then flopped into the passenger seat, told me the name of her street, and I asked if she would be able to give me directions? She said of course she would, and then passed out. This left me in a wee bit of a pickle. What does one do in such a situation? It's simple really: we're close to my place, I'll just carry her in, tuck her in to my bed, I'll sleep on the couch, and when she wakes up in the morning, I'll drop her home. This all sounded great in theory, but then it dawned on me that regardless of how chivalrous and gentlemanly my intentions may have been, if she were to wake up at any point in the middle of this plan's execution, I would find myself saying the immortal words: "I know how this looks, but there is a perfectly innocent explanation as to what's going on here..."
Plan B was to leave her asleep in the van with a blanket over her, and stick a Post-it on the dashboard explaining that although she appeared to be down a boreen in the middle of nowhere, she was actually in a bizarre vortex between Southern Road and Old Blackrock Road, and it would only be a matter of navigating a series of treacherous potholes to get safely back to civilisation. Again this sounded like a great plan, but the reality of the situation was that I was all out of Post-its, and as it was way past Cinderella time and into the wee small hours, there was no hope of getting a fresh pack (Greta is not fitted with bull bars, so ram-raiding Eason's was not an option).
As her name was still unknown to me, and prodding her shoulder while saying "Hey you, you there!" was not eliciting any sort of response, I knew a Plan C was needed. This involved the very straightforward act of going in to my flat, checking her street name on google maps, then heading over there and using whatever force was necessary to wake her up and drop her off at her front door. Well done Doctor, you've done it again! So as we pulled out of the vortex, she was awoken by a particularly aggressive pothole. I then explained that I had stopped off at my place for something and was now going to drop her home, and she then explained that she was going to get sick. She then rolled down the window, hung her head out like a highly intoxicated red setter, and spewed her guts up all the way home. She then thanked me for the lift, and apologised for any vomiting my van may have endured over the course of her tenure. I said there was no need to thank me as I was happy that she got home safely, and there was no need to apologise as I considered her not getting sick all over me and and the van's interior as the best possible outcome in this situation. Besides there is heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, so that ought to take care of it. When I got home and surveyed the damage (in the dark) it didn't seem too bad, nothing a nice heavy downpour wouldn't fix.
As with all things alcohol related, the cold light of day was a lot less than forgiving. Admittedly the streaks were impressive, and I did feel a wee bit CSI-ish as I examined the pattern and tried to glean what angle her head was at, how fast the van was going, what the prevailing wind was, and just how much she must have been drinking to conjure up so much vomit. She had managed to Pollock the passenger door as well as a large chunk of the sliding door, and was considerate enough to spray both of the handles so that it was impossible to open either door without touching the intimate details of her stomach lining. However hard it rained that day, it didn't rain hard enough. I would have to wash my van.
This turned out to be a very good thing. In all the months that myself and Greta had been an item, it never occurred to me that the underside of her arches were anything other than black, but it turns out that they are sprayed the same green as the rest of her. It was also a nice feeling to be dropping a clean van off at the test centre, it's like turning up for court in a decent suit, it doesn't change anything really but can't hurt, right? This brings us right up to the point where the story began, which is a bit of a shitty ending, but that's how it goes.