Sunday comes and Sunday goes and I have yet to poop.Today I journeyed back and forth with all the waste furniture and wood from my kitchen, maybe half a ton of it, to my Father's workshops, 25 miles North of here. It was largely without incident, except for the RTA.
I was crouching beside my fuel tank (it is very low on the Iveco) filling up with diesel, when the van moved forward suddenly. Behind me was a silver car with a cracked number plate and a scared driver.
She got out and filled her car with fuel, then went into the shop. I finished filling my tank and followed to see what she would do. Inside the shop she was getting cash from one of those machines which charges one for the privilege, so I went about paying for my fuel and getting the chap behind the counter to show me where the tax disc holders were, my life being the hectic roller coaster that it is.
Whilst we were perusing the various colours of holder and the amenable assistant was enjoying his break from the register and extolling the virtues of each hue, the lady who had tail ended me paid and went to leave. I, of course, stopped her in her tracks and enquired, not unreasonably, I feel, at what stage of proceedings she intended to broach the subject of driving her car into the back of my van. "At what stage of proceedings were you intending to broach the subject of driving your car into the back of my van?" I asked.
To say I was gob-smacked by her reply is to underestimate the amount of smacking of the gob which occurred several-fold. "My car was damaged much more than yours" says she, and makes for the door.
Now, I am not the most socially adept man and I am aware that I sometimes see attrition where none exists, so I took my lead from the young cashier. His look of a mixed horrified and amused amazement was enough to convince me that my position was strong. I countered her retort. "I'm sorry, you drove your car into the back of my car. At what stage were you going to mention it?" I felt that was rather witty myself and I had made appropriate hand movements, palms facing each other, hands shoulder width apart, to demonstrate the two vehicles and their unexpected coming together.
Clearly she felt that she still held the stronger hand here and was quick to point out that there was no damage to my van. "Your van wasn't damaged" says she. As it happens, I was under the impression that she had bent my tow-bar, although it later came to light that my father had done this earlier on and I had merely not noticed. None the less, unknowing of this I pressed on, as any man would.
"You drove your car into my van", I repeated, finally thinking to add "with my 6 year old daughter in the front." I felt this was a solid argument and one which would see me through this trial cleanly. I was not prepared for her reply.
"It's an old van" says she. Now clearly, questioning the quality of a gentleman's vehicle is not cricket. Pretty bloody far from it, I should say, and she apparently saw in my eyes the gleam of anger. I didn't give a damn about the tow-bar, but as the conversation continued I was beginning to care more and more. She quickly added a quiet "and my car was damaged more", apparently her mantra for the incident.
"Am I to take it that you felt it was not worthy of mention then, this 'driving of your car into my van'?" asks My Lordship, realising as I do so that this is an earnest question, I cannot quite believe that she feels this way. When she replied with a mumble to the effect of 'why should I?' I was instantly ready with a reply which ran as follows: "Well, for one thing it would be polite and, more importantly, it is a legal requirement'. I put a slight lilt into my tone as I spoke these last two words, but I was beyond amazed by this juncture. I was still not prepared for what was to come. I followed my previous sally with "I'm not overly worried by the damage, but I might have been, and did you not think it might be polite to at least apologise?"
"I didn't know I'd hit you until it went bump."
No word of a lie. "I didn't know I'd hit you until it went bump." Amazing. The poor checkout boy could no longer control himself and began a convoluted dance, involving much clutching of the chest and the alternating of howls of derisive laughter with apologies for his own outburst. I must say that I felt a strong inclination to join him, but instead merely highlighted the fact that "You hadn't hit me until it went 'bump'. Going 'bump' was you hitting me."
Clearly this was a woman of high principles and she was not about to spend time in Lapford garage being ridiculed by the kind of yob who parks his van where she wishes to drive, and she stormed out to her awaiting husband who studiously ignored my questioning "Do you not think she should apologise for driving her car into the back of my van then?" and sped off.
My 6 year old summed it up quite well when she asked 'She drove that car into this van?'.
P.S. It only came to me later, but I fancy that when she was saying 'I didn't know I had hit you' she intended to stop there but, realising that this was simply absurd given the impact, she tried to add a caveat. At the time this was not at all apparent and may well not be the case, but one must have one's little theories.