The Kindness of Strangers?
A rant, more or less summed up by the above slightly doctored photograph. The first in a series of long overdue rants, each spiraling off on it’s own wonderful tangent, designed to clear the mental air so I can get back to posting photos and waffling on about them endlessly. More or less…
So anyway there we were, driving down from Sligo on a truly pissy Sunday evening. It rained, then the rain turned to sleet and finally snow. The snow froze and turned to sleet, I was mistaking them for top flite at one stage. At any moment, I imagined Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington might come raining down on my windscreen. The drive from Sligo is, in places, unnervingly hairy. Especially from Sligo to Galway. Then you hit the traffic in Limerick and sit around twiddling your thumbs/tickling your balls/finding as yet new and unexplored crevasses in which to mine for fluff. That kind of thing. You get through Charleville and it’s the home straight. You’ll be home in 40 minutess, maybe a little less if you don’t get stuck behind some bloody rental car or fucking idiot with a 2 meter eyesight range.
Then, a wonderful sound. That unmistakable sound of a wheel rim ploughing a trough into the tarmac. You pull over and yes indeed, some little bastard of a screw has been lying in wait for your lovely rubbery tire. The little prick; Quite literally. What makes it even worse than that? Why you’re driving a French car with a poxy, useful as a cotton condom French toolkit. As a people, the French must not break down that much. I’m sure if they had any experience with their toolkits (i.e. by getting stuck at the side of the road for an hour and a half pissing around) they might re-evaluate their whole emergency provisions. But no.
Having never actually seen the spare wheel or indeed the toolkit of my car before Sunday (I’ve only had it since April 2006), I was hugely, nay overwhelmingly moved to see Citroen’s idea of a set of tools with which one repairs one’s motor vehicle. Moved first to frustration, then to anger, then very close to dementia. In the space of how ever bloody long I was standing by the side of the road wrestling with a tire iron the length of a less than generous toothpick (and coincidentally made out of weaker material than one), no fewer than 100 cars passed me in a variety of weather conditions. Having changed numerous flat tires before, I imagined I’d have it done in fifteen minutes. Eh no. I lost count of the amount of well equipped 4×4′s with their well equipped toolkits that passed me by within the first 10 minutes. At one stage, a troop of 3 seemingly ‘professional off-roaders’ passed me with the entire kitchen sink strapped to their bonnets. Livid. I swore ten years worth of my filth quota out within the first 20 minutes. Twenty Major would have blushed.
As the hailstones pelted down I tried in vain to shelter myself while still wrestling with the wheel that would just not come off. I kicked it, pushed it, tried to lever it off with my ultra-shitty toolkit and even resorted to a few Jackie Chan style flying kicks in it’s general direction. Fucking wheel! I didn’t fully lose hope until It came to pass that the tool I was using in a vain attempt to remove the stuck wheel was in fact made out of softer metal than the wheel itself. Bra-fucking-vo Citroen. I’d have killed for some leverage. If I had had a paper clip, a small amount of gaffer tape and some nearby branches I could have MacGyver’d a better set of bloody tools.
At one stage near the bitter end, I stood up and soaked from head to toe with the titleist bouncing off my eyeballs, a little piece of shit Honda Civic (oh I’ve got your license plate number by the way) flew past, horn blaring and a bunch of baseball bat perching mother fuckers inside laughing their tiny minds out. Lucky for them I still had a modicum of self control and I resisted the urge to throw the solid steel tow-hook I was carrying through their back window as the car slowed for the prolonged enjoyment of the genetic mistakes inside. You haven’t heard the last of that one, you Carlow fuckers.
Oh but that’s not all, several minutes before that a Gardaí squad car, full to the brim with ‘helpful civil servants’ slithered past at a pace so pedestrian it seemed to scream out “we could help you, but I really don’t want to bother”. One thing’s for damn certain, the Irish police force (or at least the wankers that passed me) will never be able to use the ol “To protect and to serve” tagline. Useless shower of bastards.
All this time I’d been praying for the tiniest drop of WD40 so it was like all my birthdays and Christmases come at once when a helpful local rounded up from a nearby house handed me a huge can of it. Five seconds later the wheel was off. 2 minutes after that, I was tightening the wheel nuts with the spare on and was on the way. Certainly made me feel like my last hour and a bit was well spent. At least I went someway toward destroying the shittiest car toolkit in the history of automation.
So to everyone that passed a white Citroen C4 on the Cork road just outside Newtwopothouse (yes that is actually a place name) on Sunday the 18th March, may you all die screaming in pain. To the Gardaí, may your overtime be slashed repeatedly and may you eventually be replaced by a far lower cost group of reserves. To the 4×4 drivers, It would have taken 5 fucking minutes out of your hugely hectic social schedule to stop and help me. To the Carlow branch of Burberry Ireland, I hope your kids turn out to be as pig ignorant, woefully stupid and generally as belligerent as you no doubt were to your parents. I hope they never move out of the tenement you save all your lives to buy and most of all, I hope when you get put in a retirement home it ends up appearing on primetime. And not for any good reasons either. Finally, to the service monkeys that removed my ‘free 24 hour Citroen roadside assistance’ sticker from inside my windscreen to replace it with a ‘your next service is due on…’ sticker, I’ll see you on April 2nd and I’ll be bringing the lube made from chili peppers..
It’s not all negative though. It will make me do a number of things. 1, go to a hardware shop and buy a good tire iron. 2, get a can of WD40 which stays in the car permanently. 3, give aid to any motorists I see by the side of the road that look like they’re in need of it. That’s it. I’m finished. Where’s the whiskey?