Today I picked up our new car. I find it rather weird that car dealerships seem to be placed on arterial main roads which are easy to access by cars but not by much else. Our road is like a main branch off an arterial road but unfortunately a branch 120 degrees away from the car dealership road. A direct route between my home and the dealership doesn’t exist instead one has to zig-zag and head at times in the wrong direction to achieve the goal. An ideal route for a bike in fact, but I’m not convinced I can get a bike easily into the back of the new car. If I had thought about it a bit more perhaps I would have worked out a taxi would have made sense though of course this action would also have a hard to justify (for me) cost. A bus would have been cheaper than a taxi, but would involve two buses with associated waits; stressful. It seemed to me that the most cost effective and least stressful way to get to the car dealership was on foot.

I knew it was going to be a busy day before I went to bed last night, the main foci being the car pickup, visiting our friend in the hospice, and taking our son to Ikea. Since the hospice and our son are both in Edinburgh it actually fitted quite nicely with giving the new car a bit of a run. Three things in a day is my max and even this is pushing it, ideally each one of these items would be done on a different day because that is enough for my fatigue levels and mental well-being. As it is I feel knackered and emotional drained, I really could do with huddling up into a ball and sleeping but I know that tomorrow will be another demanding day and not writing something down is the route to depression. This morning was another one of the prolific idea days and that is before all the experiences to reflect upon.

I ended up walking to the car dealer, starting off later than expected and hoping that I wouldn’t be too late. Why late I hear myself ask. Sometimes the dog does not get a walk in the morning but since I was away all day I wanted to make sure he did today. I also needed to provide my daughter and our visitor with food this evening so combined the dog walk with buying pizza and salad. Since I was in a bit of a rush I decided not to get a bag for the shopping but purchase one for five pence instead.

When the time came to pay for the food, I baulked at the foolishness of paying for another bag and decided to carry the two items in my hands. I should have realised this was a mistake. When I went to untie the dog from the post outside the shop, I managed to reattach his lead whilst balancing the pizza and salad on one knee. I also seemed to entangle both of the dog’s front paws with the lead too, the result of which was the pizza and salad on the pavement. I blamed the dog. Half way back to the house, the dog decided it was time to relieve his bowels in front of the queueing contra flow traffic to further test my food balancing skills in front of a live audience.

Oh and I guess the other thing is that I went to bed a bit late and so was rather deprived of sleep.

At home again, I made sure I fed the dog. I couldn’t quite believe I would be able to turn up at the car dealer and pick the car up without needing some formal identity so I rushed about to get my driving licence and then thought I should take my passport because the licence doesn’t have a photo on it. I hoped this would be enough and decided to not take a utility bill (one has to draw the line somewhere). I left the house at 9.30ish, ten minutes later than planned and tried not to stress about being late to the dealer and in turn being late to pick my wife up at 11am to get to Edinburgh. If I had been a bit more able to process spoken information I might have remembered that my wife’s appointment was not until 1pm but for some reason I have fixated on 11am, leaving no later than 11.15am. I had checked with the dealer over how long the handover would take and knew that in theory I had between fifteen and thirty minutes to spare. I tried not to get too anxious about also needing to pop home to pick up the stuff my son had requested.

It was a lovely morning for a walk, though a bit chilly, so I put on a thin merino jumper over my deliberately bright blue t-shirt (I thought going to see someone in a hospice deserved bright colours), together with a baseball cap and my cycling waterproof jacket (in case of rain since I hadn’t checked the forecast and this is Scotland). I ended up being rather “little boy blue” with my bright blue shorts and socks but thought the streaks of yellow on my trainers provided a good contrasting foil. All rather Swedish and Ikea now I think about it. My choice of clothing seemed to be justified by there being no overheating; that is until the sun poked through the clouds. Whilst I appreciate the weather’s need to keep the blue and yellow theme going, the sun coming out probably led directly to my wife commenting on my odour when she got in the car later.

The brisk walk was very pleasant and I ended up being only a few minutes late for the appointment. I was greeted by a warm smile and a query for tea or coffee. The coffee was brought with a basket of good quality biscuits (wrapped in pairs) which was most welcome since I had skipped breakfast. Many signatures later all of which made sense at the time, I sat in the new car whilst Michael explained the various workings. He didn’t comment on my BO though he did start with the dual zone climate control features. I drove away from the dealership whilst the eleven o’clock news came on the DAB radio. I also noticed that there wasn’t much petrol in the tank; great, another thing to fit in I thought. I debated and grew anxious over whether I should go home and pick up the stuff and be late for the wife, or go straight to wife and hope she wouldn’t be too annoyed about having to go home, pick up stuff and head to the garage before leaving for Edinburgh. I decided people before stuff and consoled myself that at least she would be able to help collect things together. I wondered if she could have her meeting on the phone instead whilst I drove.

I parked close to the office and decided to test out the mobile phone bluetooth integration with the car’s audio system which Michael had set up. I selected my wife’s number on the console and could hear the mobile dialling; where is the microphone in here? My wife’s mobile when to voicemail, so I spluttered out a message unsure whether any of my syllables were being recorded. I tried the office mobile next (after having programmed it in the car system) and an office manager answered. To my relief she could hear me though I still don’t know where the microphone is, and told me my wife was seeing a client. I was not delighted to hear this but asked the manager to let my wife know I was waiting downstairs. I could picture both my wife and I being on edge and ending up having an argument; particularly unpleasant in the confined space of a car.

My wife appeared shortly afterwards and chatted away about her morning and the new car; confusion was now added to the anxiety over time. I waited for her to finish and deliberately tried to stay measured and calm whilst laying out my anxieties over the time. Most of my anxieties fluttered away as she explained the appointment wasn’t until 1pm whilst offering to help get things together at home. I am glad she offered to help because it turned out I had no idea where the blow up mattress was and lord knows what state I would have been in if I had gone home first.

As we drove along the town’s bypass towards Edinburgh, I was impressed by how well the power of the engine accelerated up the hill. The one point two litre petrol engine seemed very well balanced to the weight of the car and my concerns over the loss of the low end torque of a diesel engine disappeared. I could tell as I drove along the motorway that the knots of the morning were slacking off too. I think part of my concern today was confronting my choice of car with the reality of ownership, and on the whole I am pleased that I seemed to have got it right. On the whole? Well I am not sure about the white of the bonnet when looking through the windscreen; the contrast may be a bit painful to my eyes. On the whole though, the first hurdle was completed successfully though not, it has to be said, without a bit of anxiety.

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