I will let you into a little secret.
At my age, there are few things that really scare me any more. I have grown hardened and there are few surprises left.
There are some things that scare the shite out of me from time to time, like dentists, or the fact that people can still manage to elect people like Harney into office, but on the whole I can take whatever life throws at me.
There is one thing though that reduces me to a quivering jelly.
It never fails.
The automatic car wash.
I brought that car for its annual scrub yesterday, and once again I was nearly reduced to tears. Once again I had to restrain myself from needing an urgent change of underwear. Once again I used a week’s supply of Prozac in five minutes.
The first bit is OK. The yoke starts churning and it gradually pisses all over the car. Having done that, it pisses all over the car all over again, only this time it uses some kind of foam. Having finished its urination, it then proceeds to flail the car with massive great rollers.
You would imagine that this is the frightening part? Visions of windscreen wipers being twisted into modern art? Visions of wing mirrors sailing off into the distance? Visions of car aerials being dispatched into the next parish?
It’s only warming up to the main event.
I sat there as this great chunk of steel warmed up for the main event. The roaring started, and then the yoke that looks like a guillotine came down. It starts off at the level of the front bonnet and then menacingly advances slowly, straight towards my face. Oh so slowly. I just know it isn’t going to adjust itself to the contours of the car.
It nudges upwards, just to tease me. It advances another few inches and the roar gets louder.
I just know something is going to fail and the fucking thing is going to advance towards my face, neatly convert my car into a convertible and in the process remove my head.
It teases me each time. Just as it’s about to smash the windscreen it edges up another inch purely to lull me into a false sense of security. I know that this is the time. I know I am about to be decapitated and say a quiet prayer to whatever God happens to be lurking around the car wash. But the fucking thing likes playing with my nerves. It roars its way to the back of the car and then all the way back again.
It didn’t get me yesterday. I lived to tell the tale.
I just know the next time will be the last.