Notes on the Car
I can’t believe I’m still writing about the car. I don’t find cars interesting enough to write this much about them.
Since it got back from the garage, the car has in one way been a great success. It’s gone from Cork to Longford, and then from Longford to Dublin the next day. And home from Dublin to Longford that night. And from Longford to Dublin on Thursday and from there to Dun Laoghaire that afternoon, and from Dun Laoghaire to Galway that evening, and from Galway to Longford the following day.However, it still refuses to go up hills. Everything takes twice as long because I keep having to turn around everytime I encounter a hill. To get from Dun Laoghaire to Galway, I had to go via Bray, because there were hills EVERYWHERE
In school I learned that the Midlands are flat. Bollix. The road from Athlone to Ballymahon is basically Himalayan.
I have also discovered that the car behaves better if the petrol tank is full. I’ve been topping up the tank as often as I can, six or seven euros at a time.
The drive from Dun Laoghaire to Galway broke me. I’m buying a new car. The garage in Cork where my parents bought their car and where my sister bought hers, knows my family well. My mother and brother went there on Saturday and kept me in the loop via What’s App. We negotiated a new car in January for €1000 + my current car + €198 per month. They’ll loan me a good car from now until January.
€198 per month might seem like a lot, but I’ve had my Julian for 3 months and I’ve spent €825 on repairs in that time, i.e. €275 per month, and it’s caused me to lose out on over €500 in earnings too, so I can do this. I can be organised enough to pay €198 for a lovely new car. Also, the price of my insurance is coming down because it’s a new car. I’m totally winning.
I hope it comes in red. Or orange. Or canary yellow. Or even a sky blue. Just not silver or gold or beige or brown or white.
Notes on the Heating
It’s almost three weeks since I got a delivery of new heating oil and realised that the burner wasn’t working. My landlord had warned me “Don’t let the fucking oil run out completely or this fucking thing will burn out.” I really didn’t want to ring him.
I don’t know why I waited for so long. I must have thought that if I just waited that it would magically come back on. Or maybe I was just waiting for spring. Anyway, today I realised that enough was enough and I set the alarm on my phone for 2:00 pm to ring my landlord and ask him what to do.
I decided on 2:00 pm as I wanted to ring him at a time when he wouldn’t be too angry. If I rang him in the morning maybe he’d still be tired and grumpy. If I did it in the evenings maybe he would be settling down in front of his favourite TV show and wouldn’t want to be interrupted.
In preparation for the phone call, I set to cleaning the house. What if he needed to use the toilet while he was fixing my heating? I bleached the toilets, and scrubbed and mopped both bathrooms. I generally do a very good job of keeping my house clean, except for one thing. My floors are always in need of a clean. I find hoovering and sweeping very difficult with my weight and if I have to hoover or sweep, I can’t really do anything else with my day as it takes so much out of me, because of all the bending down. So I decided he couldn’t see my floors in the state they were in and I started sweeping and hoovering. This meant I had to take a few breaks and my phone alarm rang to tell me to phone my landlord, but I had to wait two more hours until I had all the floors clean.
Was I ready to phone my landlord? Would he come round immediately? Should I do a bit of de-gay-ing of the house? There is a very noisy homophobe inside me, who won’t accept that my landlord might be OK with my pink stripey tablecloth or the set of disco balls hanging above the bathroom door. I considered taking a bit of the colour out of the house. I felt guilty because I feel like I defrauded him because I didn’t “admit” that I was gay when I rented the house. I wore dark colours to view the house and I talked to him with my hands in my pockets. I also feel a little guilty that this is the house where his children lived when they were small, and I shouldn’t spoil that with my nancy perversions. I know that these thoughts are entirely illogical, but it doesn’t stop me having them. In the end I decided not to change anything.
Now, it was time to call my landlord. Of course, after all that hoovering, I was very hot and sweaty so the fact that the house is unheated in November wasn’t bothering me at all. What should I tell him about the timeline? It was three weeks since the oil got delivered and he knew that. What should I say? How could I explain that I had waited so long? Could I just say I was scared because he’d warned me not to let the oil run out and he was was quite gruff and heterosexual and I didn’t know how to admit I hadn’t done as he’d told me? No. Of course I couldn’t. I decided to say that I’d been away for the last two weeks. Would he know this was a lie? He lives fairly near me. I’m sure he, or his wife, or one of his kids, must pass my house on a fairly regular basis. He’s told me that they get takeaway from the Chinese down the road from me at least once a week. And he’s also friendly with all my neighbours. Are they reporting to him on my movements, my late night Netflix watching? I don’t know!
What the hell happened in my life that made me so self-conscious?
I rang him at 4:30 pm.
Landlord: Hello Connor.
Connor: Hi. How are you?
(Dead silence while he doesn’t tell me how he is and waits for me to tell him my business.)
Connor: It’s about the heating. I’ve been away for a few weeks and I can’t get the heating started. I let the oil run out completely.
Landlord: I fucking told you not to do that.
Connor: You did. I know. I tried to fix it, but I don’t have a key for the burner.
“You wouldn’t know what to do with it if you did.”
Maybe my landlord knows me better than I think. After a few more “fucks”, the conversation turned quite pleasant. There’s a young fella coming up from Belmullet who’s good at this kind of stuff and he won’t charge much.
I’m going to Galway for the week and by the time I come back, I’ll have a new car and heating that works.