October 8th 2018
Gail and I always used to laugh at what we called the ‘BIG Mini’. For anyone who grew up in the ’60’s / 70’s and knew the real social phenomena caused by that tiny car, and then to see the same named vehicle 40-50 years later, dwarfing most other similar cars on the road, always seemed so ludicrous. It was as if over the years, the actual word ‘Mini’ had ceased to mean anything. I know it was used before but couldn’t they purloin the word ‘Maxi’ from British Leyland? Anyway, little did we realise that one day, due to Gail’s own situation changing, we’d actually end up with one ourselves.
On a three year Motability lease from last December, today Gail’s BIG Mini went back two years and three months earlier than I expected or wanted. I took the keys into the showroom and managed to get out the words “Hello, I’m returning the keys for my wife’s ….” then I went. A full utter convulsive, crying meltdown. I felt for the staff who initially had no idea what was going on, until I managed between racking sobs to tell them who I was and what I was doing dripping water and snot onto their counter.
They were good, took me into an ante-room and gave me water and listened sympathetically. But I couldn’t really explain and they couldn’t really understand. How could they?
After handing over those keys, I patted the bonnet of a large piece of metal that, in truth, used far too much fuel anyway – I think we both would have been squealing at the end of three years – and, because I’m man who likes to suffer, declined the offer of a lift home and walked down for breakfast at Mimosa.
‘One step at a time’ they tell you. What they don’t mention is at the end of each step is a fucking banana skin and a huge, gaping hole.