Running. Another 10km. Still in eighth. Two people starting to breathe down my neck. Desperate to reach the end now.
Not much of note happened today.
I did finally book the car in to have an annoying clunk looked at. We’ve already spent about 500 euros at one garage to eliminate the clunk and after fitting new shock absorbers, exhaust lugs and tightening various bits of the car’s underside it still clunks. It’s the sort of clunk the carefree part of your brain says “oh, it’s only a clunk, I’m sure it’s nothing” and the rational part goes “THE BOTTOM OF THE CAR IS GOING TO FALL OFF AND YOU’RE GOING TO DIE”.
The clunking, to date, has been just the perfect amplitude to sit neatly between my two brain halves – noisy enough to worry about, but not noisy enough to do anything about. The impetus to visit a garage was finally there when we realised our badly adjusted headlights were not only blinding oncoming traffic but probably passing aircraft too. In fact, when I saw that ferry had crashed in Italy because the captain started steering all over the place I felt a twinge of guilt we might have had something to do with it.
I was quite proud that I managed to talk to a dungaree wearing French mechanic in detail about our car problems this morning. As a man there’s always a fear when talking to a “trade” that you’re going to come off as a bit of a tit. Most men overcompensate for this by suddenly becoming a cockney wideboy “yeah, it’s makin’ a noise, but I like stripped the accumulator off the bezelflaps, and had a poke abaaahht mate, but I don’t have the time really, too busy shaggin’ me missus and going to the dogs innit’?” but most trade people can spot this posturing a mile off. I was fortunate I didn’t have to go through this male-on-male ritual, because I kept forgetting the French words for shock absorbers and headlights and just sort of ended up pointed at things and whining “it’s not working, fix iiiit“. Since moving to France I have become slightly more mechanically minded, but I’m battling against genetics and a middle class upbringing which has left me lacking the confidence to get really stuck in on an engine or a car in general. Dad – thanks for the appreciation of modern jazz, but WHAT THE HELL DOES A ALTERNATOR DO?
Our car is awful, mind you. It’s a Korean MPV which they don’t sell in the UK. It rolls and wallows on its suspension like a birthing humpback whale. It is uncomfortable to drive, it only has 5 gears (so sounds like a drag racer when you push it to motorway speeds) and it has the fuel economy of a combine harvester. We tend to call it “The Souris” (The Mouse) because everything inside the car is so badly put together whenever the car jiggles it sounds like there’s a flock of mice having an orgy in the footwells. It’s also my fault we bought it. We’d spent ages looking for a French car, and after so many bitter, bitter disappointments I just snapped and decided to get it. Remember when your mum took you round shoe shops when you were little and her patience finally evaporated after entering the eighth shop? Remember when she’d shout “WE’RE BUYING THIS PAIR OF SHOES. I DON’T CARE IF THEY FIT OR IF YOU BLOODY LIKE THEM OR NOT”? Yeah, I’d reached that stage. Car fatigue.
After yesterday’s mini-rant about positive people I realised I’d forgot to mention their number one irritating trait.
Bringing cakes into an office to share around.
I used to ask a related question when I was interviewing people (“do you bring cakes into the office for your fellow co-workers to enjoy?“) and if anyone answered yes then things went like Hans Gruber’s death scene in Die Hard (youtube it). You should never, ever, bring cakes into an office. There’s no excuse for it. If your pessimistic co-workers wanted a cake, they’d have got a cake. Bringing a cake into an office for someone else is like a cry for help. It’s needy. It’s clingy. It’s expressing a desperate desire to be loved. It’s not spreading positivity, it spreads resentment. It says “I’ve got the salary/time to waste on buying cakes for you people, LOVE ME, LOVE ME”. It really makes me angry. When people used to bring cakes into my office I’d barge to the front then deliberately, and very slowly, lick each cake and put them back on the tray. It’s the only way to teach positive people their behaviour is unacceptable.
Thinking about it, I might have a “things I hate about positive people” paragraph every day on the blog.
Tomorrow – the evil bastards who arrange office birthday cards.