Paul calls and doesn’t introduce himself, he just details the problem you currently have.
‘You need new shocks and bushes.’
This is what he told me a couple of months ago.
‘I know that Paul, but what about the car.’ Paul had sighed his usual sigh and continued ‘£135 plus VAT, do you want us to go ahead?’
I think I actually made Paul laugh, or at least smile, once, in 2006. He’s impervious to my wit, but a comical slip by a tall man on his oily forecourt seemed to hit the spot.
‘Daddy’s funny little car’ - as Aurora calls it - has been ailing again. The warning lights have been taking turns at coming on over the last few weeks. My morning turn of the ignition key had begun to feel a bit like pulling the handle on a one-armed bandit – with the daily prospect of a jackpot. The jackpot: all warning lights glaring and beeping, car kaput, no way to get to Sunderland, back in the house to help Aurora assemble Mr Potato Head in the most grotesque attitude possible.
I knew as soon as ‘Paul’ flashed on my phone screen again that I was in for a pithy assessment.
‘You’re not firing on all cylinders.’
I was unsurprised, almost relieved. I suppose I just needed someone to say it.