Sunday 20 December 2009
Today is Mike Watt’s birthday, perhaps the greatest bass player of our generation.
It is also the one year anniversary of the last time I saw Mindy. The day we spent shopping at Greenwich market was perhaps my highlight of Christmas last year but then it all went downhill from there. Sadly as a result there has been a dark cloud over most of my year from what happened subsequently putting a major wrinkle into what was 2009. The bitch has still got my Adrian Mole books from that day.
I begin my Sunday by watching the final two episodes of Eastbound And Down, its too cold outside to begin murmuring too soon. After being a relative shut in yesterday, today I really do have to head out and leave the house not least because I don’t have any food left in the house. A quick look out of my bedroom window shows that even though things have not got any worse they don’t appear to have got any better either.
Eventually I man the fuck up and head out around 11AM knowing that I am about to hit Christmas traffic face on. The things I do for food.
Attending to my car I am dismayed to find that it is still caked in snow which further down has frosted into thick ice. For some reason I naively thought that my windscreen wipers would just rub all this away. Wrong. In the end I have to use my tiny blue plastic scraper and immediately within the first stroke my hand freezes in the same manner in which is used to turn blue when I was a child. A little later the scraper then fucking snaps, useless piece of crap. Slowly I get the job done but I sense/fear it takes twenty minutes in the process. This is a poor start to venturing out.
As I head towards the roundabout near the police station the traffic queued down Balkerne Hill looks like carnage. Promptly I change my mind about Asda and decide to head to Sainsburys at which point a BMW Nazi SUV decides something similar and pulls out on me almost causing a collision I was never going to win. The owners of these vehicles truly are pricks of the highest order.
Driving through Lexden I pull my iPhone from my pocket to the realisation that it is soaking having been caked in ice while I was clearing it from my car. Immediately it doesn’t look good for my phone.
Arrival at Tollgate for Sainsburys is met with the inevitable queues but thankfully it does not prove as busy as I was fearing or expecting although I do still decide to avoid their car park for the PC World car park instead.
At this point I notice I have a missed call from my parents so I endeavour to work my wet iPhone which suddenly sounds more quiet than usual but maybe this is the sound of my mother getting older down the other end of the phone. The call is no big thing just an enquiry as to how I am dealing with the snow and whether I will be keeping to routine and heading over to theirs for lunch today. I guess so, I don’t really know.
With that done I slowly trudge across the snow to get into Sainsburys at which point my phone rings again and once more it is mother now asking me if I can get them a News Of The World. At this time I don’t even know if I will make it to their place at all.
Shopping today is just for essentials, essentials being bread, milk and various other beverages. These are the things that will get me through.
When I get back to Bohemian Grove after a measured and cautious drive back I make myself a huge sandwich and consume an entire bag of peanuts seemingly in a gesture to make up for yesterdays intake shortfall. I hate my mentality sometimes. Meanwhile on the TV in the background is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on ITV. ITV always censors this movie to death. Go figure.
For a while I write and try to pull a rabbit out of the hat but invariably I run out of time and have to head over to the parents’ for 3PM. Again as I drive over I tackle the snow and ice surprisingly competently and when it comes to driving up the hill into their complex I take the bull by the horns and ace it without skidding or vertically sliding. I guess I am better at driving than I give myself credit for. Once at the olds, after the dog goes bollo for me, I proceed to get grilled with questions about the snow and ice both around my way and in London. I am only able to respond brattily, they’ve been watching the TV, they know what its like.
From here my Sunday afternoon takes its using form of my regression back to childhood as the dog runs the house as dad and I watch the football on Sky while mum attends to our apparent needs.
On Sky this afternoon is West Ham v Chelsea which is a no win fixture for me featuring the two most odious clubs in London, the ones most flash and arrogant lacking a general air of humility and sense of fun. These clubs cannot be trusted.
In the end West Ham surprise everyone including themselves by snagging a point with a 1-1 draw. They had even taken the lead just before halftime with a penalty but even from here it always just looked like a matter of time before Chelsea would come back and finish them off. Ultimately though they fail to do any damage beyond Lampard’s equalising penalty. Its always from penalties.
As the night continues to freeze I linger around my parents watching The Simpsons and bits of the Miracle On 34th Street remake before eventually facing the roads and heading home.
The drive proves better than expected, the areas that I suspected would give me and trouble and I subsequently take slowly ultimately do not prove any problem. What does cause me problem however is drive up St Helena Road. This is a slightly hilled street and as I climb up it slowly I begin to feel my car slowing down and my wheels beginning to spin. Suddenly my Focus refuses to go any further as the ice holds it back, holds it down. Very quickly it becomes evident that I am stranded. A couple of times I go reckless and squeezed the accelerator but the card does not grip, does not take which is perhaps a lucky thing because more than likely I would lose control in the ice and plough through the parked cars either side of me.
As I struggle to get/gain any purchase on the road an old guy comes over to my car window and recommends that I don’t give it so much acceleration. Before approaching me he comes with a disclaimer “I hope you don’t take offence in me saying but with 40 years experience of driving in the military I would advise you to watch you acceleration.” From here he begins attempting to guide me up the road but I just can’t get hold of the surface, it is all just one long skid. Quite frankly at this point I am basically stranded and I feel like crying. Ridiculously he begins trying to push me up the road at which point I really do feel useless and a complete tool before sensibly I suggest that he gets behind the wheel and I push. Briefly he worries about whether he is insured to drive before he does the business by driving onto the mounds of snow in the middle of the road to at least get some grip on the surface. This guy is smarts on a stick, a sure-fire sign/indication that my generation doesn’t hold a candle to those that came before us. Once over the hump he gets out and leaves me to take over. Relieved and happy (and mortally embarrassed) I shake his hand and thank him profusely just as a car begins to follow me up the same route except he doesn’t get stuck trying to climb up the icy road. What did he do right and I do wrong? God bless that old guy.
In a way it represents a sorry state of affairs that he felt the need to apologise to me before offering assistance. What has the world become when you no longer feel safe to offer help to strangers?
When I get home I feel slightly scolded and stupid. To wash away my embarrassment I hop in a bath with view to readying myself to face the final working week of the year.