Sotto alla Corona
- 2016 (7)
- 2015 (18)
Sorry for my prolonged silence, but my house it's been turned into a hospital recently. I have one husband and one son, both in bed with the flu, a ton of Christmas shopping still to be done and two cats that hate me because I keep forgetting to buy their favourite treats.
So, forgive me for neglecting this little blog of mine.....
In the following post, I will demonstrate how a perfectly mundane afternoon can turn into the stuff of nightmares (or Soap Operas...).The plan was easy: feed Gabriel his lunch, then get out of the house early to fill up my car with petrol on the way to the toddler play-group.
I planned it to perfection. I made Gabriel his favourite dish of the moment (small pasta with lentils) to ensure the lunch would go smoothly, I also managed to have a shower early in the morning, with him popping his little head in and out of the shower cubicle to make sure I was still there (although he can hear me as I always sing my heart out under the shower...), and even tidied up around the house before sitting down to lunch.
I thought, "It's always a nightmare trying to find parking in South Kensington in the early afternoon, this way I make time to stop at the petrol station and still have a spare fifteen minutes to look for parking before play-group starts...". I was very pleased with my multitasking-self.
Ok, ok... Stop sniggering now, you cynical lot.... It's almost Christmas you know? Unless Christmas has on you the same effect it has on me.
Obviously, unless you have small children and you are doing everything on your own, you don't understand the sense of achievement you can experience when even the smallest thing falls into place when you need it most.
Sadly, I was in for a bumpy afternoon.
The first part of my plan went ok, we were in the car early enough, Gabriel nodded off almost instantly as soon as I put him in his car-seat. They were even playing my favourite song on the radio "Want you to make me feel, like I'm the only girl in the world....", bless Rihanna and her waist-less figure... She has a gorgeous face though, I'll give her that....
So, we were on our way, Gabriel asleep, his mouth open, and me, shimmying to the music like an epileptic.
As I pulled up into the petrol station, I looked back to make sure the little master was indeed snoozing, I grabbed my wallet, locked the car, filled up the tank to capacity and made my way towards the desk to pay.
Before you call me a Britney, or something along those lines, let me point out that YES, I did leave Gabriel in the car, but the petrol station I go to it's very small, so I can constantly monitor my son, even as I queue up to pay.
That day was going to be no different, except for one thing: when my turn came, I rummaged inside my wallet to find that I had forgotten my debit card. The only other fifteen cards I had, had never been used before and I never had the PIN code for any of them.
"Oh shit!" I just belted out, the lady behind me coughing in disapproval
"What's wrong mate?" the indian guy at the cash desk asked me
"Oh fuck......I can't believe it..." I just replied, the lady behind me now positively huffing and puffing away in protest to my colourful language.
"I don't have my card!!" I looked at him blankly and he returned my look, with just as much blankness.
"Can you make me sign if I use another of my cards? I don't have the PIN code..." I asked the guy
"No, we don't have the facility here, you have to have a PIN code" he simply said, without looking at me this time
"Oh.... But... But... Can you try swiping this card through and see what happens?" I said, with a pathetic imploring tone in my voice
"What will happen is that the machine will ask you to enter your PIN code, you don't have it and so I will have to cancel the transaction and keep all these people waiting in the process..." he pointed at the queue behind me, the woman behind me was followed now by another four people, all looking at their watches and rolling their eyes, wondering if I was going to take
"In that case, I will need to run back home and get my card.... It will only take me a few minutes.." I enticed
"Mate, be serious.... Why don't you just go over the road to the cash-point and withdraw some money to pay me with?" he suggested
"BECAUSE I WOULD STILL NEED A GODDAM PIN CODE AND I DONT HAVE IT!" I now almost yelled at him. The lady behind me was clearing her voice in protest and made me snap
"DO YOU WANT A MINT FOR THAT THROAT OF YOURS?" I said.
She looked away, red-faced.
The guy behind the counter wasn't having any of it:
"DON'T YOU GO ALL SHIRTY WITH ME MATEY! YOU ARE AT FAULT! YOU FILLED UP YOUR CAR AND NOW DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT!" he snapped in my face, the people around me murmuring in agreement.
"What do you mean I don't want to.... Ok... Fine... I'm sorry..... What would you have me do then? Wash cars until I finally paid my dues?" I sniggered
"I don't appreciate your tone. I suggest you call somebody to come over and pay for your petrol, otherwise you can't go. You are trying to pull tricks on me. I've seen it before." he concluded dismissing me with a gesture of his hand that said 'move to one side, I have other customers to attend to'.
I don't think I have ever blushed so much in my life. My face turned such a deep shade of purple that you would think I had suffered frost-bite...
Or a stroke.
I grabbed my mobile and called Steven at once. He was in Germany, stuck in a meeting, so I knew he was not going to pick up, unless I activated my 'special' trick: if it's urgent, keep calling until he picks up. Smart uh?
And pick up he did.
"What's going on hun? Is everything ok?" he whispered on the phone "I'm in the middle of a presentation!!"
"I AM BEING HELD HOSTAGE AT THE PETROL STATION! The guy wont let me go until I pay him for my petrol and I don't have my card.... I thought I did, but I don't.... What do I do?" I blurted out without pausing for air.
"ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?" he snapped at me
"Well....Why? OF COURSE I AM SERIOUS!" I retorted
Steven gathered all his patience and replied calmly: "Just propose that you leave him your driving licence as proof of your good faith, then go home, get your card and go back and pay the man...." he concluded, sounding patronising
"But I did try.... he just won't..." I tried to reply, but Steven sharply cut my sentence in a half:
"Deal with it! I need to go now!" and hung up
Great! I thought.
The indian asshole thinks I'm a crook, my husband thinks I'm an asshole and all I wanted to do was fill up my car with petrol.
I sheepishly made my way back to the cashier:"Ok, listen, what about if I leave you my driving licence whilst I am gone? Would that work for you?" I suggested to the guy, struggling to maintain a patient-sounding tone.
"I tell you what, leave me your whole wallet and the car documents, then you can go home and get your card." He said, putting both hands on the desk and leaning forward towards me, trying to look intimidating.
I didn't even think about protesting and handed over everything he asked in return for my freedom. I just wanted to get away from all those stares.
"You are such a dick-head..." I mumbled to the guy with a smile as I left the premises and made my way to the car.
He just shook his head.
Ok, I was back in my car, Gabriel still asleep, I had just missed play-group and was on my way home to get the card.
I must say, I know I might sound camper than a row of pink tents at times, but I am really not such a pansie. I mean, a situation such as this, would make me laugh, first and foremost, but, maybe because of the lack of sleep I have been enduring lately, or maybe because I am generally exhausted and brainwashed by all the cartoons I have been watching, I was a bag of nerves.
I zoomed through the Chelsea traffic driving like Barbie on acid, honking, gesticulating and chanting to myself "Dick-head... Dick-head... Dick-head...".
I made it home and started rummaging around the house, one handed (Gabriel was in my arms, still asleep!!!).
I finally retrieved the card from a jacket pocket, I managed to put Gabriel back in his car-seat without waking him up and was on my way back to the petrol station within 5 minutes.
Barbie on speed.
But then, Lady Bad Luck decided to stick around a bit longer, as maybe she wanted to see how much I could handle without crumbling like Gwyneth Palthrow's Oscar speech.
As I turned into Sloane Avenue, where the petrol station is, I noticed a police car stationed on the side of the road. One of the policemen was leaning on the bonnet. It was an unusual sight in central London.
I promptly slowed down to avoid being stopped, but it didn't work. The guy just stepped into the street and signalled me to pull over.
"Fuuuuuuuuuuuccckkkkkk!!!" I whispered..... Turning purple once again.