Month: June 2019

Why I like courtesy cars

Last Friday, my car had a service. While it was being serviced, I was loaned a courtesy car. Driving back home in this car I pondered why I like getting courtesy cars so much. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. But I really, really like getting courtesy cars. (I had better add at this point that this was only the second time I had ever had a courtesy car and that the first time was only a month or so ago.) However, on both occasions, I have felt extremely happy. And here is the list of why:

  • Getting a courtesy car feels like getting a new car. I haven’t had many cars in my life, so this feeling is quite alien to me. I like it. I like it a lot.
  • It feels as if you are finally being treated like an adult. They wouldn’t loan a car to a child, after all, would they?
  • The car will invariably be newer than mine. Yes, this was true of both cars I have been lent. Both had those screen things that tell you what song is playing on the radio or where to go, or whether you are about to hit someone or something. I love those screens. I don’t have one.
  • The car will most definitely be cleaner than mine. That isn’t too difficult. And I mean, inside, rather than outside (although outside applies too). Who doesn’t love a clean interior?
  • The car will give me a sense of confidence. After the initial nerves have dissipated, yes, I feel more grown-up and confident in a courtesy car than I do in my own car.
  • The car makes me feel noticed. I think this is just an illusion. But somehow I feel that people notice me in a courtesy car and notice me with jealousy.
  • It feels as if I am committing a crime if I drive anywhere for pleasure in a courtesy car. I feel as if I should only be allowed to go home and back to the garage, so going somewhere else on the way is very, very naughty. I do rather love this feeling. If I stop off at M&S Simply Food for a quick sausage bap I feel as if I am bunking off school if I am in a courtesy car. I’m not sure what this is all about. But doing something off piste in a courtesy car feels very dangerous and rebellious. I love that!
  • It’s fun to confuse the neighbours with a different car. Who doesn’t love doing that?
  • Having a borrowed car, albeit a better one, makes me miss my old car. When I return to the car I am familiar with, I feel a sort of love for it that I had perhaps lost. Maybe we should try this with our lovers too? We could regularly borrow a newer, cleaner, shinier model so that when we will return to the familiar we will return with renewed vigour. I’m not sure this is the best idea I’ve ever had.

My car survived its service on Friday and I had to return the car but a few hours after I had driven it gleefully off the garage forecourt. It cost me £200 for the pleasure. Actually, no, it cost me £203.50 (that’s £3.50p for the sausage bap and coffee at M&S Simply Food).

They make very good sausage baps.

 

 

Why books are like romantic encounters

This is a weird thought I had on the way to Wolverhampton today.

I am currently reading this book. I can’t put it down. It is easy, quick, fun, moving, light and fast.

My book – 100 pages to go.

Every spare minute, I pick it up and a read a few pages. I read it while walking. I read it at the traffic lights. I read it on the toilet. When I have finished it, I will miss it. I am currently addicted to it. But ask me in a months time whether I miss it? I will probably say no. I might even say ‘what book?’ Why? Because I will have moved onto something else.

My weird thought runs thus: books are like lovers. How you feel about the book you are reading mirrors how you might have felt about various lovers in your life.

This book, Never Greener, a rather good book (I recommend it), is by Ruth Jones (of Gavin and Stacey fame). She’s very talented. It isn’t meant to be literary. And as a result, it isn’t. So to me it is like an intense romantic encounter with someone who doesn’t have a huge amount of depth hiding below the attractive exterior. It’s message is clear – the grass isn’t greener. That’s it. I bet many of you reading this have had lovers that mirror this book: short, sweet, addictive but mono-layered. The relationship I’m talking about, short though it is, is all based on fancy. You fancy the pants off this person. They make you smile, tingle and long for more at the start and this tingle might actually last until near the end. But there isn’t a huge amount under the surface. The relationship ends as quickly as it started, once you realise you need more, especially if you race through it. You feel initially quite sad at the end. But then, you realise, it wouldn’t have lasted anyway.

I am also listening to this in my car. Now this book is a slow burner compared to Never Greener. It isn’t funny, light and fast. It is complicated, dense and intense. It wasn’t immediately lovable. I fancied it at first, but it took a while for it to grow on me, due to its complexity. Now, I feel a real, deep love as well as a fancy. It is a love that grows. It is the love that builds on that initial fancy. Ian McEwan is like your soul mate.

This book had me hooked, eventually.

Then, there is everything in between and further away. There are the sorts of books (lovers) you know you should read because they have a lot to offer but they just don’t do it for you (Ulysses by James Joyce). There are the dull and boring ones you are forced to read to please others (A Man for All Seasons) that you give away as soon as you can. There are those you buy on a whim at train stations, last the journey, and then are gone. Those are the one-night stands of the literary world.

A lover that is hard work.

So books are like lovers. I admit I haven’t had that many in my time but I read a lot so what I know about different types I have learnt in books. Ironic? Maybe.

How come I don’t remember some of my drive to Wolverhampton?

This is a weird thought I had at the traffic lights this morning as I contemplated my journey to Wolverhampton. I had just driven quite a way down the Stafford Road, through about six roundabouts, managed to survive without accident or  trauma, yet I suddenly realised that I had no conscious memory of that part of the journey.

Why didn’t I remember it and why didn’t I crash the car? This wasn’t the first time I’d had forgotten part of a journey.

I’ve just learnt that it is a ‘thing’. The ‘thing’ is called Highway Hypnosis.

I have no memory of this lovely road

The idea of Highway Hypnosis was first introduced in 1921, google tells me, and it was then called ‘road hypnotism’. So its not a new thing. And it is a thing that lots of people do. It only seems worrying because we associate control with complete consciousness. It’s the same distrust we might have of those clever cars that have cruise control and all the random automatic features that can go wrong. But actually, we are just as much in control and able to observe when we are under hypnosis as we are when we feel fully conscious and remembering every move. If anything, perhaps we are safer under hypnosis. There are no nerves, no hesitation, no feelings of anger, no bad reactions. There is a lot of mystery around the hypnotic state but only because we don’t fully understand the power of it.

I have experienced being under hypnosis and it is a very powerful tool for influencing the mind. So if my hypnotic mind is a safer driver than my fully conscious mind then I will embrace those moments when I don’t remember the journey. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

 

 

Why do I like to sleep all curled up?

This is a weird thought I had at 6.52am as my alarm went off. I was lying, completely curled up, foetal, hugging a pillow and wrapped up in a cocoon of duvet and blanket. Why is it that I feel most comfortable like that when other people sleep straight?

Curled up is comfort for me.

Google, as always, is my friend in these queries of mine. Apparently, google tells me that in one experiment, 41% of people claimed they sleep like me, and within that percentage, the women outnumber the men 2:1. So I’m not alone, sleeping like I am. This particular website also had something to say about my personality for my preference for curled rather than straight sleep: hard shell, soft centre, shy at first. A worrier. Hmmm. Maybe. The idea is that if this person sleeps as they would have done in the womb, they are returning to a place of security and safety.

The website I found on this topic is interesting because it offers personality traits for all sleeping positions, so here is a summary.

The Log (asleep on the side, with arms by the sides): this person is a social butterfly. Everyone loves this person.

The Yearner (as above, but arms stretched out in front): this person is apparently open-minded yet cynical. They are more complicated than I am, or The Log for that matter.

The Soldier (asleep on the back, arms by the side): as expected, these people are regimented, logical and organized with a high moral code. Yep, this is not me.

Freefaller (on stomach, arms under pillow): a social soul again, but these people are unable to cope with criticism.  They’d better avoid twitter then.

Starfish (no explanation needed): good friends with good ears are starfish. Everyone needs a Starfish in their life.

Star gazing starfish

Stargazer (imagine looking up to the stars, but asleep): happy-go-lucky friendly types prefer to snooze in this position.

Pillow Hugger (any position but always hugging a pillow, hugging is big on this person’s list of priorities): nurturing, loving and caring. Everyone needs a bosom for a pillow.

The Thinker (fetal but with hand on chin): these people swing between extremes, apparently, and think a lot (of course), even while asleep. Now I’m trying to remember where I put my hand when I’m asleep. Is this me? It sounds an intellectual way to be.

Actually, perhaps I am a combination of many of the above, as we all might be. We are all different, after all. I’m tired now, I might curl up under my desk for a snooze now: hand on chin, pillow hugged, looking to the stars.

 

Motorways are like veins

This is a weird thought I had while driving over the M6 the other day. I now live near the M6. I can just about hear it on a good day, with the wind going in the right direction. I have to cross the M6 a lot. Every time I cross it, I look down at it and wonder where the people on it, at that particular time, are going. The other day, as I was crossing it, I thought how similar the M6 is to a vein in the body, the cars are blood cells and the people are bits and pieces within blood cells (I’m sure there are things in blood cells but I didn’t do biology beyond the age of 14).

Can you spot the M54?

Also, just like blood cells don’t live in veins, nobody lives on the motorway either. We are all transient travellers. We are always just passing by. There is no permanence on a motorway. It can be a very sad and lonely place. We might glimpse other people as we pass them, but we will most likely never see that person ever again. So like blood cells our cars are always travelling (despite the odd blockage of course). We don’t stop. We don’t stay. We just keep going, from one part of the body to another.

The main artery in the body

If motorways are like veins and the UK is the human body, that would make Birmingham the stomach, Manchester the heart and poor old London, the bowels.