Car Wars II – The Car Strikes Back

One of the biggest advantages of being self-employed and working from home is that I don’t really have to leave the house very often if I don’t want to. In the winter, I don’t normally want to, so while we obviously HAVE to leave the house sometimes, I will actively avoid anything that puts me in contact with the icy chill of the outside world for longer than it takes to walk from the house to the car. The car that has generally been pre-heated and de-iced by Terry before I have to go anywhere near it. Sometimes it pays to be a total princess about stuff, you know?

This morning, though, I wanted to go to an early morning (!) gym class, and Terry didn’t, and so it was that I found myself face to face with a car that resembled a block of solid ice. Of course, given that I don’t generally go outside at this time of year any more, I had totally neglected to allow time before my class for the scraping of the car, and so once I’d managed to prise the door open with my fingers (it was frozen solid and I should just have taken that as A Sign and gone back to bed, in retrospect) I decided there was no option but to go for the old “lukewarm water on the windows” trick (Note: don’t try this at home, kids.) if I wanted to get to the gym on time.

What I didn’t realise, though, is that Terry had rearranged the contents of the kitchen since the last time I’d been in there, so I couldn’t find any kind of jug/other large water receptacle suitable for the pouring of lukewarm water on my car. I guess I could’ve used the kettle, now I come to think of it, but… well, I DIDN’T come to think of it. It was early. I don’t really “do” early.

So I used a teacup.

It was the only thing I could find in a hurry, and seriously, never use a teacup to carry lukewarm water to your car, because only stupid people do that. It does not save time, because you have to make eleventy one trips to and from the kitchen, clutching your cup of lukewarm water, and if you’re anything like me, your paranoia of cracking the windscreen will mean that your water isn’t quite lukewarm enough, and so, by the time you’ve finished pouring it onto the car, and have managed to locate a pair of old sunglasses in the Ikea Cabinet O’Doom that lives by your door (because despite being freezing cold, it was naturally so sunny I couldn’t see a damn thing without them), the water you’ve just poured over your car to defrost it will have re-frozen, and you’ll have to start all over again, only this time using the scraper, like you should have done in the first place.

Also, if you’re like me, the leg of the old sunglasses you dug up will fall off on your way down the driveway, but by now you’ll be running so late you won’t have time to return to the house for a new pair, so you’ll be forced to drive to the gym with the broken sunglasses perched on your nose, held there by a single leg and sheer willpower. GOD.

Having gone through all of this even before leaving the driveway, though, it stood to reason that my car would wait until we were halfway to the gym and then decide to pull one of its “I’m about to break down and ain’t nothing you can do about it!” tricks. I had been expecting this. As those of you with the patience of saints will recall, the car has done this before, last winter, and the considered opinion of Those Who Know About Cars on that occasion was, “The car doesn’t like the cold.” Yeah, no joke. I know how it feels.

So, we get to the first set of traffic lights between the house and the gym. Naturally, they are at red, so I stop the car and as soon as I do, it starts the whole, “I think I might… Yes, I will! I’m going to stall now! Yes, I am! I am! I totally am! Actually, no, I’m not. All fine. As you were.” To which I replied: “#%$!!*”&”

Despite this, we reached the gym without stalling. Only to find that the class I’d tried so hard to get to on time? Wasn’t on. Instead, they’d decided to have a step class. I do not do step classes. So I dragged my weary ass into the gym itself and onto a treadmill. The treadmill was next to a window. From the window, I could see my car sitting in the car park. It looked like it was planning something. Something probably involving stalling in the middle of a busy roundabout and condemning me to certain death. I was sure of it. And there was no way I was driving it home while it was in that kind of mood.

So I decided to make Terry drive it home.

I think it’s fair to say Terry wasn’t exactly thrilled to get that phone call. In fact, I may have become slightly hysterical as I tried to convince him that the car was totally trying to kill me, and that he should come and drive it home, leaving me his safe, non-murderous car instead. Terry did his best to convince me, in turn, that no, the car was fine, and that maybe I could just bring The Drama down a notch or two and DRIVE HOME LIKE A NORMAL PERSON but there’s no reasoning with me when I’m like… there’s no reasoning with me. Terry would have to bring himself, his car and his headache to the gym, and that’s why the next time he sees MY number come up on the caller display, he’ll know better than to answer.

Terry had told me to go and start up the car while I was waiting for him, so I went downstairs and as I opened the double doors of the gym’s snack bar, which you have to walk through to get out, I heard The Beatles strike up on the radio. Really loudly.


“That’s nice!” said I. “Love that song. Also: I would like to be a Paperback Writer too someday! Lovely. Very loud, though.”

I walked to the doors, humming along as I went, and actually feeling quite sad as the gym doors closed behind me and the music stopped. I headed to the car, got in, and turned the key in the ignition.

It would not start.

I tried again.

It STILL wouldn’t start.

I tried one more time. This time, the car started, and as it did, the car spoke.


“Freaky!” said I. “I hope Paul McCartney isn’t dead or something, because why else would Paperback Writer be on constant rotation on the radio?”

But the radio wasn’t switched on. And I’m ashamed to admit this, but when I realised that, it took me a good couple of minutes to stop freaking the hell out and wondering why The Beatles were haunting me, and just what it was John Lennon was trying to tell me from beyond the grave. Other than that he wanted to be a paperback writer, obviously. For surely, I told myself, the fact that my every move was now accompanied by the playing of Paperback Writer was some kind of Sign?

And it was. It was a sign, people.

It was a sign that SOMEONE WAS TRYING TO CALL ME, because Paperback Writer? Is the ring tone on my phone. The ring tone I set back when I first got the phone. In JUNE. This tells you how often people phone me. It also tells you that I’d obviously been walking through the gym with loud music blaring from my person. Yes, I was that asshole with the loud music! And now I feel bad about that girl whose eyes I wanted to poke out last week because she was playing music from her phone/MP3 player/thingy while wandering around a clothes shop. Maybe she just forgot what her ringtone sounded like too?

Anyway. Terry turned up not long after that, and pretended he didn’t actually mind being dragged out of the house to come to my “rescue”.

And then my car drove like a dream all the way home.


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  • This is hilarious. I scraped my windshield this morning, too, as well as the windows. It was horrible. Definitely a sign to Stay Home. Glad you made it safely!

    <abbr>Hilary´s last blog post..Definitely Late Twenties</abbr>

    January 28, 2009
  • Am


    oh no. My car wouldn't start this morning either. I have a very radical way of getting it going – I have to dry all the pluggy things inside the engine with my hairdryer – then it starts up straight away! It wants to live in a garage…

    January 28, 2009
  • Erik (Sorrento)


    Perhaps it's its way of pitching story ideas to you, involved stalling icy cars of course.

    January 28, 2009
  • I am actually laughing out loud at this! Especially the part about the Beatles and the ringtone. You wolly. I will be chuckling about this all evening.


    <abbr>Fi´s last blog post..Review: Clinique Online</abbr>

    January 28, 2009
  • That is hysterical!

    My car will be 10 this year. And he doesn't like the cold. I bought him in California and every winter here, he gets less and less enthusiastic about starting when it is below freezing.

    <abbr>Kristabella´s last blog post..House Hunting = EPIC STRESS</abbr>

    January 28, 2009
  • Lila


    you crazy woman time..stay home..or do an afternoon gym class, hee hee… x

    January 28, 2009
  • Oh my. Right there is a very good reason why I don't drive!

    <abbr>Amanda Nicole´s last blog post..mish-mash meme</abbr>

    January 28, 2009
  • 1. Poor Terry.

    2. Thanks for making me laugh so hard I nearly choked.

    3. Come live in Melbourne. At 8.30am today it was 35deg C. No danger of ice at all.

    <abbr>Tracey´s last blog post..Stuff and things</abbr>

    January 28, 2009
    • yes, thats right, no danger of:


      comfort whilst travelling to work,

      being able to sleep at night (or in the early hours of the morning),

      of me leaving the building during the day,

      of any public transport working (>40 trains cancelled at last count),

      of the aircon in the car working (nothing to do with the temp, it's cos the air compressor is broken, but that's not the point)

      Can I swap with you Amber?

      <abbr>Louise´s last blog post..Holly dog</abbr>

      January 29, 2009
  • Kathleen


    So funny! Driving in the cold sucks. God, living in the cold sucks. We had the umpteenth storm this winter in Boston and I had to trudge through the snow to get to and from work. Very unpleasant.

    January 29, 2009
  • Stephen


    Hahahahaha. I just had to ask Si to pause '90210' (twice!) so I could read this entry out to her – you're absolutely barmy, Red, but you really do have a talent for writing 'funny'.

    January 29, 2009