Tom Wrigglesworth - on buying a new car
PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 March 2018
The Sheffield-born comedian shares his thoughts on life
Every spring I’m reminded of the time I travelled to New Zealand, a journey that door-to-door, took pretty much bang on 36 hours. Add to that the 12 hour time shift that takes place when relocating yourself to the other side of the globe and you really do leave the house at 6pm on a Tuesday, and push open your hotel door at 6pm on Thursday. You have every right to ask what happened to Wednesday but I think the answer is you misplaced it somewhere over South East Asia. People warned me I’d lose a day, but imagine my amazement when I left my flat on a promising breezy spring day, only to arrive in Auckland on a drizzly autumn one. I appear to have misplaced an entire summer.
No such gallivanting for me this year – what with the newly arrived twins. Instead, I have to accept that I really need to be a grown up now and say goodbye to my beloved, yet totally knackered Vauxhall Astra; a genuine trooper of a car that has powered me from gig to gig since I became a stand up.
Although with missed servicing intervals and careless reverse parking I’ve no doubt let it down countless times, it’s let me down only twice. Once was a snapped timing belt that caused me to nearly freeze to death on the A3, and the other, a clutch that finally gave up at the pinnacle of the Snake Pass. Fortunately, my destination was Liverpool so once I’d crawled my way to the apex, it was all down hill from there so I was able to make my gig in good time by simply free wheeling the remaining 65 miles.
So with the new sense of responsibility that parenting instills, we set off to the car supermarket. It was a moment of relief to realise that copious amounts of hair gel were only compulsory for staff members. My personal demand for a car is to get me from gig to gig and home again as economically as possible but the family’s needs are best met by a seven seat behemoth that barely fits on the drive. Being a modern and considerate dad and husband, I compromised, and agreed to buy a seven seat behemoth with a view to extending the drive at some point in the future.
I don’t know if it was my wife’s trustworthy manner or my remark that ‘Your hair looks nice, it’s been years since I wore gel’, but Dean, our self-appointed sales rep, flaunted the company policy of allowing only one set of keys to be given to out to each customer and let us to wander off with keys to four vehicles he was confident we’d love.
I began to feel more grown up with every step, but this feeling was tragically cut short when we sampled our first ‘possible next car’, a beautiful Kia Carens with just 15000 miles on the clock. I sat in the driver’s side and put the gear stick through its repertoire (even though we were static on the tarmac and not actually test driving it, this felt like the right thing to do), my wife hopped into the passenger seat and imagined what baby related things could be squirreled away where.
Once we’d run out of things to twiddle and stroke, we got in the back to imagine what ride our children would face if this car got the thumbs up. We agreed you could probably live in the back of this car it’s so vast, then thought it best that we get out and try out another car. That’s when the problem started because the child proof locks were activated and we found ourselves locked in the back seats. The key fob might well open and secure the car, and even have a separate control for the boot, but sadly there was no ‘I’m-an-idiot-please-unlock-the-doors button’.
I have to point out that we were both wearing muddy hiking boots, and are way too tall to scramble over the seats to the cockpit. Our attempts to raise the alarm by banging on the windows so other customers would come to our aid were scuppered by the tinted windows. All well and good for adding a cool shade inside the car, but not so good for trying to get the attention of fellow car shoppers.
Fortunately, Dean came wandering close enough by to see our panicked faces pressed up against his potential commission bonus and came to set us free. It may well be child proof but it certainly isn’t adult proof, I thought, as Dean suggested he show us the cars from now on, suddenly deeming us as nowhere near responsible enough to do it ourselves. Maybe by the summer I’ll have grown up, that is, if the summer doesn’t magically pass me by.