With a title like that, you might expect me to be talking about sex. I’m not, although the line “I’ve got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it” from “Sexy and I Know It” has been floating around my head all day and I’ve absentmindedly sung it aloud while waiting at pedestrian crossings and in queues, much to the surprise of the people of Dublin. I would like to reassure the people of Dublin that I’m not about to show anyone the passion in my pants. People rarely get to see the passion in my pants, but that’s a story for another day.
On Friday, I had to get the NCT done on my car to get it certified as roadworthy. It’s not my car. It’s my sister’s car, but I’ve been driving it since 2008 and all of the damage done to it in that time is 100% mine. I had bought a cheap pre-NCT service on Groupon.
Initially, I was supposed to have the NCT three weeks ago. Now, I really don’t like spending time with people who work with cars. They make me feel so unmanly and unworthy and they always use words I don’t understand and they have a tolerance for filth that my middle-class, suburban, homosexual instincts cry out for me to run away from.
So I didn’t bother booking a service until the day before my NCT was due. I rang the number of the garage and asked if I could book my car in for a service the next day. The mechanic laughed and said “You must be joking”. I said that I had my NCT and that I needed the service the next day. He laughed again, really loudly, and passed the phone over to another man, saying “There’s a comedian on the phone for you”. I was very close to hanging up then and there. Eventually, the other man agreed to squeeze me in.
My day should have looked like this: I would teach for two hours in the morning, then I had a meeting with my supervisor, straight after that I would somehow get back to Hall from college (nearly three miles) and drive the car out for a service two miles away in the space of twenty minutes, then I’d take it for the NCT in Tallaght and then I’d be back in Hall on time to go on duty at 6:00. It was never going to happen, so I went online and rescheduled the NCT. I rang the garage and re-scehduled the service for last Monday, but as I wrote in my last post, I slept through that appointment.
I’d been ready to give up the voucher for the service, which I’d spent €60 on, in order to avoid explaining myself to the car people, but then they rang from an unknown number, so I pretended that I’d made the booking for the following Monday, which made no sense, seeing as that was after the new date for my NCT. Anyway, I bamboozled the man on the phone into getting an appointment for a service at 10:00 on Friday. I had my NCT at 3:35 pm. What could possibly go wrong?
I got to the garage on time at 10:00. I vaguely hoped there’d be a receptionist, but no, I had to deal with a car person. I asked him what time the car would be ready. He said he didn’t know and that he’d ring me. I asked if he could say around what time it should be done. Again, he said he didn’t know and he’d ring me. At this stage, I was too scared to stay. I didn’t tell the mechanic that I had an NCT at 3:35. I presumed that it would be done by 12:00 at the latest.
I took a bus into town and went into a cafe. I got a cup of tea and read my book. At 12:00, no one had rung. I told myself I’d ring at 12:30 if they hadn’t rung me. Then I chickened out and didn’t ring them. I really do have issues with mechanics.
I got the bus back to the garage, but I didn’t go in. Instead I went and hid in the hospital across the road. There wasn’t an awful lot to do in the hospital. There was one nice area with benches where I could have sat and read, but there were a lot of pigeons there, and I am almost as scared of pigeons as I am of mechanics, so that wasn’t an option.
Eventually, at 2:00, I summoned up the courage to ring the garage. I was told that they were waiting for a bulb to be delivered and it would be an hour. That was OK. If I picked the car up at 3:00, I wouldn’t be too late for the NCT at 3:35. I hung around the hospital, like some kind of creep with a fetish for sick people.
At 3:00, I arrived in the garage. The bulb hadn’t arrived. I was told it would be 10 minutes. Fine. They didn’t tell me where to go. There were no seats in the garage. It was all very garagey. I stood around in the least filthy looking place and tried to look nonchalant and heterosexual.
Of course, being in a garage always reminds me of “The Boys are Back” from High School Musical 3 and I imagine dancing around the cars with Troy and Chad and then I don’t feel so bad.
I was still standing in the garage at 3:45. I was going to be ridiculously late for the NCT. They mightn’t even test me. I’d have to pay a third re-scheduling fee.
Then I got a message on my phone. One of my Boys had sent me a message suggesting some events in Mental Health Week in college I should go to.
There I was, standing in a garage, having spent the day hiding from mechanics, feeling as uncomfortable as was possible, and completely stressed out too at the idea of being late for the NCT, singing a song from the third High School Musical film and genuinely thinking that I am going crazy and a nineteen-year-old boy reaches out to me. He doesn’t want me to have a breakdown. I had been feeling very delicate and I was touched. So, of course, I did what Connor does in these situations. I started crying. Standing in the mucky garage, mechanics working and cursing all around me, and there I stood in my shiny red shoes, giant tears rolling down my cheeks.
One of the men came to me at this stage to apologise that the bulb hadn’t arrived yet. He saw my face and turned away quickly.
After that, everything just seemed funny. It was after 4:15 when my car was eventually ready. I drove away, laughing at the prospect of turning up so late at the testing centre. I eventually arrived over two hours late for my NCT. This time there was a receptionist. Yay! But when she discovered how late I was, she said she’d have to ask one of the mechanics. He looked me up and down. I tried to look gruff, manly and interested in cars. He agreed to test the car, but told me I’d be waiting. And I was. It was well after 7:00 by the time I was home again. My car failed the NCT, so I’m not finished with car men.
But I’m grown up enough for them now. Honest.