Think Jeeves


Some people you love without limitation. I have such people in my life, and it’s a joy to know them. Objects have always played a lesser role in my affections with one exception. My second car, bought when I was still young and slightly impulsive, as opposed to being older and more impulsive, was an old Daimler. By the time I got my hand on the steering wheel the car was already twenty years old but her body looked beautiful. A shining metallic sky blue with lovely deep chrome bumpers. The dashboard was real mahogany and the car was started by inserting and turning the key then pushing the starter button. The V8 engine purred into life but all you  noticed was the movement of the rev counter as the engine came to life: the sound proofing was of the highest quality

More surprising is that I used to spend several hours cleaning the car at the weekend till it sparkled and shined inside and out and the interior smelt of well-loved leather. Quite often I used to receive compliments about the car and I drank these up with whatever shreds of modesty I could summon  at the time. Showing off the car was never a problem. I had all the time you needed to praise and touch  it. Sadly her mechanical condition was far removed from that implied by her bodywork, and she was at her best in the stationary position. Still, driving was a requirement, and when she was good she was very very good.

On a cool winters evening I was driving up the motorway to see a friend and stopped at a service station. As I filled her up with petrol a young french couple asked me if they could hitch a lift up the motorway. I was delighted to oblige. We cruised onto the motorway and sure enough the young man started up, “This is a fantastic motorcar”. “Thankyou I said”. “It is incredible” he continued”. “It has many qualities” I concurred, settling into what I thought was a delightful conversation full of insight and perception.

Embolden by the praise I flicked the indicator stalk, which was attached to the steering column, upwards ready to overtake the car ahead in a surge of underplayed power. Somewhat surprisingly the indicator stalk left its mounting and rose gently above my head   before falling to the floor between my feet. Always calm in a crisis, I felt down and found the undisciplined item, returning it to the steering column. A sort of quizzical silence filled the car, and praise seemed to be a thing of the past. Still, she was running smoothly, I thought, as rain drops started to patter against the screen.

No problem with that, I turned the wiper button, and sure enough the blades moved firmly across the screen clearing away the water:.. at least for a short while. Then they froze somewhere in the middle of the screen which soon became quite hard to see through. Winding the window down I got a rag from the door compartment, and leaned forward crazily so I could clear a patch of glass. Unease  now seemed to emanate from my two young fans who were to be seen clinging together on the rear seat. “Think Jeeves”, I thought and stayed impassively calm between periodic jerks forward to clear the window again.

A few short moments later, as I was cleaning the window , a deafening roar and banging sound filled the car, making that executive silence a thing of the past. Remaining calm, I tried to show through my manner that these things were common in the more select automobiles. The exhaust pipe had fallen off.  My concentration was broken by a pat on the shoulder. Looking in the rear view mirror I saw the young french boy. “Let me out” he said. “Let me out of this car”. Clearly they were overburdened with enjoyment and felt they could take up no more of my time. Worship, I discovered, depended on not knowing too much about the object you revered.

I let them out of the car and went off in search of a garage. Curiously, I thought, they had failed to thank me for the ride. Pride often comes before a fall, or in this case a rather unpleasant bill. Still, such is life.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in creative writing, driving, Life, life2, Uncategorized, vintage-cars and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Think Jeeves

  1. purleydott says:

    This was a fun read! I really like it! 🙂

    Like

  2. Barbara says:

    I am still laughing out loud! Having endured a man’s love affair with cars, no matter the financial and emotional pain of maintenance, I have similar stories. I’m not sure I could tell them with such great wit, however.

    Like

  3. backonmyown says:

    Okay. I’m reading along thinking, “Yeah, yeah. Boys and their toys.” Then I got to the part where you said, “Think Jeeves.” and I fell off my chair laughing. Thanks for making my day.

    Like

  4. —-I absolutely adore your stories.
    So many morals to this post that I’m not sure where to begin…
    Thanks for my dose of reality today 🙂

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  5. This was just a funny story and you’re right.. such is life. I think i repeat that line to myself often just to put things into perspective.

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  6. Jillsy Girl says:

    How comical that the car they were highly admiring began falling to pieces around them!

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  7. Kirri White says:

    So cute and funny. It reminds me of when as a teen I was joy riding with my one and only girlfriend who had a car. We thought we were pretty cool, cruising the streets with the windows down and she thought it would be a good idea to offer these two girls a ride (they were hitching). Well, once they got in the car, she turned into a very inexperienced rally driver and before we knew it, she lost control of the vehicle, went off the road and we ended up on our side in a ditch.
    Fortunately no one was hurt (slightly terrified) but I was always remember the hitchhikers, crawling out of the car, turning to us and saying “Thanks for the ride!”

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  8. Caroline says:

    Thank you for making me giggle!! 🙂

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  9. backonmyown says:

    Thanks Kirri. I’m still laughing at the mental picture you gave me.

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  10. Judith says:

    Once again you have given me inspiration for my post today. I really love this and can imagine the stories the French couple told as they sat down with their friends later “We got a lift from this mad Englishman….” 🙂

    Like

  11. Dawne Webber says:

    Whatever happened to your car? Is it shrouded in a garage somewhere? Or is that painful to talk about? (Seriously. I know many men that have loved cars).

    Worship depends on not knowing too much about the object you revered– I think you’ve just made clear once again, one of life’s great truths.

    Like

  12. Chuckles! I love this post! Everyone has a car they worship and love! I remember my friends first car we drove around town like it was one cool bean. A black camaro but heaven forbid if you sat in the back seat on a rainy day. Did I mention there was a whole in the bottom?

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  13. ElizOF says:

    What a funny and sad story all rolled in one… The lesson is a very strong one indeed… You tell the story well and what a pity the young couple couldn’t give you the courtesy of a simple thank you… such bumbling snobs! 🙂

    Like

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