It must be love – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer

She is such a vixen.

Who is? My car! Is that why ex-husband says she reminds him of me? Hmm… must remember to ask next time I see him. Anyway, back to this particular vixen in question.

She’s a real pedantic always-has-to-be-something-wrong-with-her automobile. Take this morning for example. She was low on petrol… all right! She was running on fumes but still that is no excuse as to what happened, to what she did. Having noticed the petrol tank was approaching the dangerously empty stage I turned off at the next available petrol station. I pulled up in front of a pump, jumped out the car… ha ha – in my dreams! I heaved my always-has-to-be-something-wrong-with-it body out of the car, grabbed the pump, replaced it and promptly slid back into the car exhibiting a bright shade of red that covered my entire face. They could make those hoses longer that might be a step in the right direction, you know. Never mind about the cocky comments coming from all directions such as, “Here, love! Those pumps are made of rubber not blimin’ elastic!” Hadn’t quite judged the distance accurately that was all but did she have to make such a fuss about it. I mean, it’s not as if there weren’t enough eyes already swivelled in my direction as it was.

I slid back into the car all the time pretending “I’d meant to do that” and shoved the key back in the ignition and turned it. Whoosh! No smooth electrical connection and purring of the engine. Not this time. Not any time actually… what happened? I’ll tell you what happened. Everything happened. A switch flashed at me in an angry manner exuding hostile overtones. That dashboard is encumbered with switches. Is it necessary? I mean, is it really necessary? It is a car after all not an aeroplane.

“What does that mean?” I believe I may have screamed out loud.

No sooner had the logical part of my brain made a mental note to look up the meaning of a hostile switch in the log book when and if I got home in one piece a noise not unlike a cat being run over deafened everyone with twenty feet. Extremely happy to say this I have not experienced personally and to everyone who has – my sincerest and heartfelt sympathies. Despite Ninja sometimes driving me to such distraction I could willingly chuck her under the wheels of a passing bicycle. She’s so small that would be sufficient to knock the stuffing out of her. I’m joking! Leave Rolf Harris (Australian champion of the animals resides in the UK) out of it. Anyway, back to the vixen. Coming swiftly on the heels of the flattened cat and without any help from me – the car moved although she didn’t so much move as jump forward six inches. I think she elevated off the ground. For a moment I swear there was space in between the wheels and the forecourt. I slammed on the brake and the handbrake and pulled the key from the ignition just as the unfriendly switch flashed at me one last time.

I turned sideways to look upon a sea of faces gazing back at me. I staggered over to a group of people trying hard not to laugh and asked if they would kindly push her forward the few inches I was still short. They obliged, but only during a second attempt after I remembered to loosen the handbrake and with a hand a surgeon would not want I filled her up. Paid my money over and with some noticeable and obvious dragging of my feet I made my way back to the car. I eyed her as she sat there. Now quiet. No cat being squashed on the road noises. No leaping forward or jumping up and down on the spot. I opened the door and slid behind the wheel. A hundred thoughts whipped through my mind. What if it happened again? What if she didn’t move at all? Or worse – explode! I couldn’t be stranded. Or separated into little bits of charred me particularly not on a garage forecourt like Stephen King’s idea of confetti. How undignified! I had cats to feed. As intelligent and dexterous they are with their paws they cannot manage to open a tin or a sachet. A sachet is a strong possibility actually but as for a tin – definitely not.

Slowly I put the key in the ignition. I was ready for her and her tantrums. I was ready this time. No more unexpected, not to mention highly embarrassing, surprises. I turned the key and so expected her to blow up or start rotating madly on the spot like something out of The Exorcist that it was almost an anti-climax when whoosh! Nothing. A soft purr indicated all was running well but I know better. I’m not fooled. From one second to the next she can go from acting like a meek and mild pussycat to something to be found more at home in Africa.

Oh, yes, take the other day. I was driving along minding my own business when out of nowhere the car began to vibrate so violently it felt like the steering wheel was going to come away in my hands. I have to say an event that is not exactly up there in my top ten of exciting things I’d like to experience before I die. I managed to pull off the road and fell out of the car landing in a crumpled heap on the grass verge looking like a slug wearing a pink bouclé jacket. Again, it came, it did its worst and a minute later it went. I limped home and set about doing some immediate research. I soon discovered, backed up and confirmed by the garage, it’s a component that in the business is known as a “bomb”… a bomb? Tell me about it. And don’t talk to me about garages. They see more of her than I do.

Like I said, she’s a vixen and why I put up with her I really have no idea! Any ideas would be gratefully received along with suggestions as to how to improve the pedantic old bag. Yes, I’ll say it first… and that goes for me too. Bring it on! My hide is as tough as madam’s upholstery.

It must be love.

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Rosemary is a published writer and author and has been published in various magazines.

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