I was down in the local shop yesterday.
Things aren't quite the same since I switched from dropping down on Sundays, as the bloke who insisted on giving me weird and wonderful presents doesn't work on Saturday. Saturday is reserved for his Big Brother.
Now Big Brother is a man of few words. Or at least he is a man of few words for his customers but not for his friends or whoever he phones, as he is always talking on the phone. Every time I go in, there he is behind the counter chatting away and will only stop if I ask for something or it's time to pay. It's not that he is rude or anything – he's a nice chap – it's just that he normally doesn't indulge in small talk unless it's via the phone.
Yesterday when I went in, he already had my usual order waiting for me on the counter, and as usual he was chatting on the phone. As soon as I reached the counter, he said his goodbyes and put the phone away. He looked kind of naked without a phone in his ear but I said nothing.
"Is that the same car?" says he.
"The same as what?" says I.
"I've been working here since 2007 and you always drive the same car?"
"Well, yes. Same car." I was a little taken aback by this outburst of conversation. I wasn't prepared for it.
"How long have you had it?"
I had to do some quick maths. "About twelve years" I finally said.
"Are you not going to change it?" I was wondering where this was leading. Is Corner Shop thinking of expanding into car sales?
"No need" Says I. "I only really drive it when I'm on holidays so it doesn't have a very big milage on the clock. And if I traded it in, I could only afford to buy a newer car with a much higher milage."
He thought about that for a moment. "How many miles on the clock?" he finally asked.
"About thirty thousand" says I.
"Thirty thousand? In twelve years? Fuck!"
"That's why I can't sell it. I could never afford to buy a car with as low a milage unless I bought a new one. And I wouldn't get enough from the old one to afford that."
Again there was a long pause. By this stage I had paid for my goods and was ready to leave, but somehow the conversation didn't seem to be quite at an end. There again, not being used to chatting to Big Brother, maybe he was waiting for me to hang up an imaginary phone, that being the way he normally ends conversations. Anyhows, I decide to sidle towards the door.
I was half way there when he finally piped up. "Well, if you ever do decide to sell, I'll buy it off you."
"I'll hold you to that" says I cheerfully, and went home to tell herself that I might have sold the car.
It's amazing the deals you can get in a Corner Shop?