By God I was in a fluster the other day although to be honest it was my own fault. A victim of my own inability to organise my life. I did what many do, I assume, and put off checking when my actual MOT was due. I must have glanced at last years certificate at some earlier point, probably when I bought the car, and just forgot when it was due. I got the month right, this month, but my guess was out by about two weeks.
The bugger expires in a few days time. It’s not the end of the world though. I have a motorbike I could take but a quick check of the weather reveals its going to be a dreary, wet and blustery few days over the weekend. I love my bike, but I don’t like being cold and wet.
Anyway, after a frantic fart, a bit of hopping up and down and half hour of apoplectic emptiness I finally got up off my arse and decided to ring around to try to book an MOT. I didn’t have to spend too long on the phone however. Fortunately the first garage had a vacancy for that very afternoon. I thanked them, perhaps prematurely now I come to think of it, hung up and jumped in the car.
The garage is quite literally ten minutes away from my home and so I was pulling up outside their premises before the lady who took my booking had even finished her cup of tea.
The chief spanner appeared from behind the desk as if from nowhere and took my keys.
‘Anything wrong with her that you know of?’ he asked.
I resisted the urge to look over my shoulder, unsure if I had accidentally brought my wife with me.
‘Nothing at all. Should be straight in and out I imagine,’ I said.
He gave an odd smile that was more of a sneer as I remember it and a wink that didn’t include him actually winking, as though he was going to but thought better of it. I suspect he is one of those poor unfortunates whose face contorts to reflect every emotion that passes through the owner, if only for a millisecond at a time. I find individuals such as this disturbing. It’s like they are changing their mind before your very eyes and are too brazen to hide it like normal people.
‘Take a seat over there. I take it your waiting?’
I nodded and waved the book I had brought with me. ‘Brought a book, though I doubt I’ll get much read.’
‘May as well have a coffee too then while you wait.’
I admit, all was going swimmingly well at this point and if it hadn’t been for my earlier near rage induced stroke I might have had a truly uneventful day up until that point. Alas, fate is ever-present and looking back I can see now the almighty boot being cocked back ready for delivering a kick to my anus that would both hurt deep within and spill my wallet’s contents straight into the chief spanner’s coffers.
Alarm bells began to ring, mildly at first, when I had been sitting waiting for nearly forty minutes. I could see no other cars being worked upon and so stood up to take a look through a kind of internal window. Have you ever been to a restaurant wherein you can be seated and see the kitchen staff at work preparing your meal? I can only assume that someone in the automotive industry thinks this is a good idea because this garage had installed a clear partition that allowed those waiting to watch the spanners at work.
I shouldn’t have stood up to watch really. I could have saved my sphincter it’s initial quiver of expectant rogering had I stayed put and read my book.
In the garage MOT bay I could see my car and in front of it was chief spanner pointing at two minion spanners and then back at my car. The two minions were also pointing at the car and occasionally scratching a head or an arse. Then, almost as one, they all turned and looked at me. Chief spanner waved, that odd half wink, laugh sneer expression appearing once more.
I could think of nothing else to do and so in a moment of awkwardness I waved back and then went and sat down again, a bead of sweat squeezing itself out upon my brow.
Chief spanner appeared a short while later. It’s easy for me to say this in retrospect but I swear there was a kind of victory in those cold dead eyes of his.
‘Bad news I’m afraid, Mr. Thompson.’
‘Oh really? You’ve not the right tool to perform your tests?’
He laughed, I laughed, trying not to mutter ‘bastard’ between my clenched teeth.
‘Your near-side headlight washer is kaput for a start and so that’s an automatic failure right there.’
‘Fraid not, Sir. Headlight washers came in to the test in April. Lots of people fail on this one so I wouldn’t be too concerned,’ he grinned.
‘Well I am concerned. I need my car for Saturday. Can this washer thing be fixed?’
‘Fixed? No, not fixed. It must be replaced.’
‘Well, can you replace it?’
He sucked in though his teeth with a slow shake of his head. ‘We can yes, trouble is we don’t stock that part. I’ll have to order it in.
I said nothing, just blinked.
‘While we wait for that we can work on the other problem though,’ he added.
‘Your plates are illegal.’
‘My license plates?’
‘Are illegal, yes, fortunately we can make some up here.’
‘Those plates were put on in 2008. They’ve been on for every MOT for the past five years and no one has ever said a word about them. Why now?’
‘Well, my lads are exacting. I demand it of them. They’re completely up to date with VOSA regs. Could be the previous garages you took it too didn’t have our same standards.’
‘How long have you owned the vehicle, Sir?’ he asked.
‘About five months or so,’ I said, resigned to fact that my wallet was about to be raped.
‘Ah, could be then that the previous owner had some other plates that he put on for the MOT. Yours says TT at the end doesn’t it?’
‘Yeah, see that’s not allowed. Bit poncy too. You don’t want that do you? No, let us change it here. It’ll be legal then and look half decent.’
Slow blinking now. Twinges in the corner of my right eye signal the arrival of my rage tick.
‘Can you please fix my car,’ I say simply.
‘Oh sure. Sure we can.’
That awful sound of air being sucked in between his pursed lips signal to me that he’s really enjoying himself. My violent fist clenches. Seriously, in comparison to my other fist, my right always clenches when I’m angry so I refer to it as the violent one.
‘Could be, could be. Depends if I can get the part in. Then there’s the time it takes to fit too.’ He looked out through the internal window at my car. ‘Takes a while to get at the area too. Taking the bumper of an Audi takes nearly an hour on its own.’
My mind is screaming I think you’re full of shit, but I say nothing, blink and simply nod.
So, I drove home in a bit of a state I have to say, twitching, my violent fist clenching the steering wheel to make that rubbery juddering sound.
I had the car back in early the next day. It turns out they could get the part in, thank God, but it wouldn’t be until late morning and so they provided me with a courtesy car. A bloody knackered Ford KA with about as much presence as a sun-baked turd. I drove it away from the garage convinced I could hear chief spanner sniggering even when I was a mile away.
I didn’t get much change from £200 in the end and was once again nearly rendered apoplectic, if such a condition can still be said to exist in this day and age, when they handed me the bill.
Were it not for my calming mantra, I feel sure an ambulance may have been called.
My mantra, which I run though my mind whenever I am angry goes something like this.
Can you do anything about this situation you have found yourself in? Yes? Then why are you worried?
No? Then why are you worried? If there is nothing that can be done then what is the point of the worry?
I do believe this infallible and excellent logic is attributed to the fourteenth Dalai-Lama, (Tenzin Gyatso?) who must surely be a touched with some degree of inner peace that can only come with knowing something of a grander design. Oh well, that is one for pondering another day.
Until next time,