How lucky am I
Topic: Casino Avenue
I got to thinking about how lucky I am.
Yesterday, it was my 34th birthday, and I didn't feel particularly old (all my friends are older), and I didn't particularly mind (the last five birthdays previous, I'd prepared for months with the diets and the hair streaks and the sit ups and shit - this time - nothing. Quick bath, and out).
I got lots of really funky weird presents from people, and once I shut my inner demons up and asked people to come out or visit, the next week is - just full - ping, just like that. I told Krystal before she went to India about how scared I was of doing nothing this summer, and the last thing she did before going was to ring Derby, also off to another part of India, to ask her if I could borrow her cottage on the side of a mountain in the Peak District while she's away. Derby stepped up to the plate like the star she's always been (she's rescued me from homelessness three times already), and bingo, just by asking, a summer holiday at no cost.
Just by asking, your bad luck changes. Who'd have thought it was that easy.
I slept most of this week. Slept with a side order of many movie thrown in - and can I just say how amazing Almost Famous and Capturing the Friedmans are? Honeytom wrote the most amazing review of the latter film, and it turns out to be the sort of thing that keeps in your mind for days. About the family of a man accused of multiple pedophilic ritual activites, and how social hysteria overtook their lives. And starring the saddest clown in NYC. Amazing. Anyone who felt uncomfortable when an angry mob rocked the van containing the Soham murderer should see this.
And Almost Famous was nothing like what I'd expected - full of typical Cameron Crowe deviations from the story - beautiful moments that simply don't get you anywhere, but are lovely to watch. It's enough to make you put on a prog rock album, though I made do with 8 replays of some cranky old Paul Weller album.
But I'm digressing. The acitivity that simply could not wait on my birthday was a visit to Thamesmead car pound - in the wilds and wastelands of Erith. If you imagine a desesrt island, with the original General Ford Motor Company circa 1955 transplanted there, you have Erith. It's a mad mad place, and strangely beautiful in the sheer brutality of its landscape. I know Casino Avenue hates what they've done to Charlton, since building the yuppie complexes at North Greenwich, but this is how I remember the northern end of Charlton used to be. Blasted, fruitless, inhumane. Full of synthetic smells - bread, cake, fish, liquorice - that are one sub-note off, slightly not right for the real thing. More metal and piping on view than any human should have to stare at, and taking up the entire horizon.
The best thing about waiting at the car pound, though , is the chance to watch the unluckier cars being crushed before your eyes. Oh the cruelty! In car terms it was King Lear.
Anyway, I didn't even get there. You know me, I'm so lucky. I waited till the last possible minute to go drive at rush hour to Thamesmead, stepped smartly outside of the house I hadn't exited in two days of sleep - and my car was gone.
Stolen. Told you I was lucky.
It's been broken into many times, but no-one's actually been a decent enough thief to drive it away. I'm standing there, then running to the other three car parks near the flat, wailing, renting my birthday card in despair. Knowing that I need a car to go pay my car pound money.
Thinks. There's no glass on the floor. I was really angry the last time I drove it. I was driving in and out looking for fax shops, for ISP details, etc. Really angry.
So angry that .... I'd forget where the car was?
There's a car park half an hour away that I do remember parking in. I also remember heavy cases of beer. How would I know they were heavy? Unless I ... walked home with them.
I left my car for three days in a pay-park!
Shit shit shit shit shit. Now I'm running. It's going to be ticketed. It's going to be clamped. It's going to be towed. That'll be another #600. I pass loads of people I know from work on the street, but I'm too panicked at how fucking stupid I can be to even grin like a loon as usual at them.
Forgot her car in a pay per minute car park. For three days. How lucky am I. Never live this down. Never find where they've taken it now. Three days. What kind of a fucking fool. Didn't even realise. Looking for it in the car park at home. No glass. Could have been stolen. Best case scenario is vandallised with parking tickets.
How lucky am I? The car is there. It's fine. The stereo is still glinting expensively in the sunlight. There's no ticket. I'm nearly heaving with relief.
A fortnight ago, all pay per minute charges were lifted from this Free Car Park.
The tension! The cruelty! The drama!