|Summer update- or “Why James is going to burn down Haringey Council’s offices”
||[Aug. 19th, 2010|01:56 pm]
James- Now with added kittens
I’ve been a bit quiet of late- my life has taken rather a busy turn, Sonisphere festival, my little sister’s wedding, a friend’s wedding, the announcement by the new government that they plan to dissolve the place where I work, an NHS Primary Care Trust and give the money directly to GPs who obviously went to medical school for 7 years to become finance directors...
So life has been a hectic mess of highs and lows, sometimes at the same time:
“Oh my God, Alice in Chains are awesome! I haven’t listened to them in about 15 years, Christ, has it been that long? No, I'm wrong, more like 17 years...”
“My little sister’s getting married! My little, ten years younger than me sister…”
“I’m going to have no job and be forced to over-moisturise my lips so I can pretend to my mouth is that of a younger chap when I’m working a glory hole for change. But hey, at least the sun is shining!”
Along with not updating the details of such things here on my real blog (Damn you, Facebook. Damn you and your impression that I still keep an on-line diary. All you are is a photo-sharing, event-organiser with a box for one-liners. DAMN YOU, FACEBOOK!) I let a couple of other things slide.
The first key thing I let slide was when my car was crashed into. I had grabbed a couple of things for the Metal festival and was driving back when I had to brake fairly sharply to avoid killing a pedestrian on a mobile phone who had decided that stepping out into traffic whilst idling waving was an acceptable thing to do.
Seconds after I braked there was a mild crash- my car wasn’t really shunted as I had my foot firmly on the brake pedal but I certainly felt it. Getting out of my car I turned and stared angrily at the people in the car behind who looked far more concerned than I felt the circumstances warranted.
As I was about to go to a festival I had decked myself out in my old comedy metal gear- big arm-bracers with spikes on them, New Rocks, armoured trousers with spikes on them, armless T-shirt with aggressive slogan on the front, spiky necklace with spikes on: y’know old school over the top silliness- from my point of view.
From, say, the point of view, say, of an 18 year old who has just crashed into a car, say, the sight of a stocky, tattooed man in leather and spikes emerging from said car might have seemed slightly less funny. I checked the car over and went to his window. There didn’t seem to be any damage to my car, and I was in a hurry, so I contented myself with giving a stern speech to an almost crying teen and his wide-eyed girlfriend. The looks of gratitude when they realised I was neither going to ruin their insurance nor visit spiky violence were almost embarrassing and I left with mild glow, along with a feeling that I should have demanded a blowjob (from him not her- that would just be wrong). I let it slide, basically.
However my cheer was short-lived as I discovered that the bump may have appeared to have done no damage but had, in fact, meant that my boot could not be closed once opened. Fuck. Particular fuck as I was planning to sell the car in a month and that would probably affect its (already pretty low) value.
The second thing I let slide was that I didn’t sort out my Road Tax: I tried but you can’t get Road Tax without an MOT and, what with weddings and festivals I wouldn’t be able to sort out an MOT until 2 weeks after my Tax ran out. But hey, two weeks- that’s no problem, right?
Last Saturday when I went to get the car (you can’t park outside my house) for a Birmingham trip and MOT visit I was somewhat surprised to find it gone. Some phonecalls later I got into this conversation with Haringey Council’s Car Unit Nabbing and Taking (C.U.N.T) Department:
“I understand you have taken my car.”
“Yes, sir. The car was untaxed.”
“Two weeks out of tax! You can tow it if it’s TWO WEEKS out of tax?!”
“The car was untaxed, sir.”
“There’s no leeway? No consideration?”
“The car, sir, was untaxed.”
“Not even a ticket? Or a letter?”
“The car was, sir, untaxed.”
“OK, fine, fine. How much to get it back?”
“Four hundred and eighty pounds.”
“WHAT???!!! You are f…lipping kidding me! What the what??”
Four hundred and eighty pounds is somewhat more than the value of my car. Particularly my car with a busted boot. Fuck it, I decided (following no small amount of screaming, cursing, fist pounding and generally wishing ill on all who had a hand in my current ills, including myself) its happened, lets suck it up. Suck it up.
So, after repeating the screaming and calming cycle several times I called again
“Ok. Say I don’t want the car. Would be possible to get any of the stuff from my impounded vehicle without paying?”
“Yes, if you bring along your log book and keys and give them to us.”
“So… you’re basically stealing my car? Is this what is happening?”
“The car was on a public highway whilst untaxed. We are operating within our rights.”
“You are… just… I…. Ok, ok fine. I’ll come in on Wednesday. I have to go now and stab my council tax bill 400, 000 times.”
So on Wednesday I called up again just to check that it was still ok for me to come in and get the bits and bobs, I checked the address, the documents, that the car hadn’t been crushed into a cube. Y’know, just to be sure. I then trekked across London, because you wouldn’t want to make a place where you store the cars you have taken from people at all accessible by public transport or foot. Lets twist that grip we have on your leathery-sperm-factory a little bit more. Just because we can.
“Hi, I’m here to get the stuff from my car. T501 FRA, I called earlier.”
“Ah, the Nissan.”
“Its been crushed.”
“Into a cube.”
another long silence
“Fairly sure I called. Spoke to you in fact.”
“And yet the car is crushed. Into a cube.”
“There was a mistake. Someone did not look at the note on the form.”
“I don’t suppose you retrieved anything from the car?”
“Of course not, of course not.”
yet another long silence
“You know, sir, the car WAS unt…”
“If you finish that sentence I will kick through this glass and beat you to death.”
On the plus side I still have the keys