I like to drive. In fact, scrub that; I love driving. I have an almost vintage VW Golf GTI, with alloy wheels and a specialist glaze on the paintwork that cost me a lot to have done. My car is not quite my world, but in my life it ranks slightly further down the list from my niece and nephew, and slightly higher up from my sister.
Last night, there I was, minding my own business, getting mad because the temporary traffic lights at a series of road works were turning green and then almost immediately red, letting no more than one car through at a time. I had just planned that, when I became the second car in the queue, I was going to go when the first car went, because it wouldn’t make much difference to the timing, when I was jolted forwards without having made any move at all and nearly broke my nose on the steering wheel!
All I could see in the dark of my rear windscreen was some red lights, so I unfastened my seatbelt and got out. A teenager got out of his car and was looking at the damage with dismay.
“What happened?” I asked. “Oh no,” he said, “My mum’s going to kill me.”
He’d clearly just come out of the drive backwards a lot faster than any normal person would.
“What are you going to do about it?” says I. “Have you got insurance?”
He looked scornful and for the first time ever, I felt old, and slightly fuddy-duddy.
“Of course.” He looked at my car again. “I wish I had an old banger cos I wouldn’t bother getting it repaired.”
I would just like to say at this point: cheeky little so and so.
“Are you going to pay for it or do it through insurance?” I asked. I wasn’t going to let him off at all.
He paid. A new set of rear offside lights for my Golf and a new bumper. He tried to insist that the scratches would have come out with T-cut but I wasn’t taking any chances whatsoever.
I can’t help feeling that a bit more humility might have saved him the bumper, but that’s tough. A lesson yet to be learned, I suspect.