Well you should have seen us – two security guards and myself puffing and panting and pushing a car around the choc-a-bloc Tesco car park in the Dundrum shopping centre in Dublin. Not any old car, I hasten to add, MY car.
The battery was dead. It passed away quietly while I was having a quiet cappuccino a in a café inside. It’s a god-awful feeing to sit into your car, turn the ignition and zilch. It’s an even more god-awful feeing when you wait sixty seconds, turn the key again, and ZILCH again. But the most god-awful feeling of all is knowing that the person beside you in the car, my son in this instance, has to be in Blackrock in fifteen minutes time for an important interview.
Suddenly what could be considered a major mishap had become a potential disaster. I felt like a gobdaw of the highest order, worse still, I felt like a bad father. Damn it, we didn‘t have to stop off for a coffee but we had time to spare, time to kill even but while we were killing it, the battery of my car died. Death by cappuccino? (Make a good title for a book, movie or even dessert) However ‘all is not lost that is in danger’ even though my son is thinking (though not saying, God bless him) ‘I’ve certainly lost this job thanks to my father’s predilection for coffee’
The cavalry arrived in the guise of my sister-in-law who lives nearby and luckily enough was in the vicinity. She pulled up, my son hopped in and I stayed by the dead battery. I immediately rang the AA only to discover that I’d let the membership lapse. Oh, oh. Then I rang my insurance company, Aviva, to discover that I actually did have breakdown cover and they’d be with me in forty or fifty minutes. Bingo. Nothing for it now but to have another coffee, after all a bird never flew on one wing – especially a bird with a dead battery!
I am wiping the frothy cappuccino moustache from my mouth when my mobile rings: “How’ya, Robert here from Aviva Breakdown, I’ll be with you in ten minutes”. ‘Viva Aviva’ I say aloud to no one in particular. As I am informing security of Robert’s arrival they inform me that they can give me a jumpstart. Well, well, now I have two guardian angels coming to my rescue but will any of them bring my battery back from the dead?
The Dundrum security man arrives with his magic battery box, attaches the leads to my car, I turn the ignition and zilch. Again and again I try but it’s ZILCH, ZILCH, ZILCH. “Maybe my battery’s not charged enough”, he says a little dejectedly when the cavalry arrives again, this time in the guise of Robert in his big Aviva Breakdown van to hopefully save the day.
Robert who is chirpy and cheery and full of the joys of life tries just about everything and anything to revive my battery, he attaches leads: zilch; puts in a new battery: zilch; recharges my own batter: zilch. By now I’m thinking that my battery is not alone dead but its soul has left the vehicle and gone to that great battery compound in the sky.
Robert, however, is optimism personified; determined to get me on the road he decides it’s time to give the car a push; and so yours truly and two security guards give it our all with Robert at the steering wheel. Which is where I started. But the car didn’t start. And then Robert resorts to the last resort, he tows me around the crowded car park. Not for the faint-hearted this (and my heart is still faint from it) but still the car didn‘t start.
And now Robert talks scenarios – worst scenario, best scenario, best-worst scenario, worst-best scenario. The best scenario – the car starts. It doesn’t. Worst scenario- we’re towed to a nearby garage where the car is ‘hospitalised’, I hire a car and drive home.
And so it came to pass that my son, who had returned from his interview (he got the job, thanks be to God) and myself end up sitting in the front of Robert’s Aviva Breakdown truck, cruising down the motorway to Kilkenny (best-worst scenario), our car with the ultra dead battery being towed behind. Not unlike a funeral, I suppose, except the mood in the truck was far from morose – glad to be getting home, we are upbeat and chatty while Robert amuses us with his breakdown anecdotes and jokes. As we part company, Robert with true Dublin wit says “Lads, please take this the right way - but I never want to see youze again”.