So, despite having paid an unholy fee to have my car serviced 6 days ago and be told it was fine and dandy, it decided 10 minutes into my journey today that power steering was an unnecessary luxury that this comedian should do without.
I'm driving through Brighton heading for that gorgeous little car park on the M25 between Junctions 11 and 16 when there's a bowel evacuation inducing BEEEEEEEP and the little orange steering wheel light comes on. "Oh crap" I think.
Maybe, if I pull over and switch off the engine before re-starting it, the light and the beep will go away and I can continue my journey? I indicate right and turn the wheel towards the kerb. Well, I think I turn the wheel, only I cancelled my gym membership in July so I am physically unable to turn more than a sickly moth.
The car and I lock eyes and I decide I am making it to that kerb come hell or high water. Sweat springs from my lower back, armpits, hair line and ear lobes and I wrench the wheel towards a house that costs more than my entire weight of dreams. The car creaks to the kerb.
I switch off the engine and call my husband, the gig promoter and the garage. I call the husband to check if there's another physical way I can get to this gig... the gig is 133 miles away with only rush hour traffic and Southern Rail acting as barriers, it turns out my husband hasn't got Iron Man's number so I quite quickly have to accept I'm not getting to Towcester. I'm so sorry Towcester.
I call the promoter and let him down gently. When he's done weeping and gnashing his teeth and complaining that there's no comedian in the UK who could replace me (for the low, low fees I'm willing to accept) he says he hopes I'm ok and that I get home safely.
I call the garage and ask them if they can see the car tomorrow as a matter of urgently to diagnose what on earth has gone so horribly wrong in the 6 days since my car was the picture of health. I love my local garage - they are excellent. "No problem," says the helpful man, "Just park it in your permit zone, drop the keys off and I'll go and get it in the morning and work on it."
"Ok." I say, and resolve to do just that.
Now, I got the car going again, somehow turned it around in the street and got it back to where I live. It was like wrestling a teenage hippo away from dinner and towards and Iron Maiden built for a significantly smaller hippo. I did it... I drove it all the way down to the three streets in Brighton that I've paid hundreds of pounds to have the privilege of not being able to find somewhere to park on.
I found a space... I began a parallel park.
I cannot parallel park at the best of times. I don't mean "I find it difficult" or "it takes me longer than most people"... I mean I cannot do it. I have been known to sit outside friends' houses in the car until they can come and park my car for me. I've been known to pay up to £28 a day for street parking I can drive straight into rather than parallel park somewhere free. I've been known to just sell my car and its contents to a passer by and get the bus home rather than have to parallel park.
Have you ever pictured your own death and suddenly, with startling clarity, remembered being born both at the same time? Have you ever realised just what an achievement the Pyramids were whilst sitting in a residential street in a seaside town on the other side of the world? Have you ever realised just how hard it was for your mother to raise you through puberty?
Try parallel parking a car without power steering. It'll help you do all three.
Here are some things that would be easier than parallel parking that car again without power steering:
1. Switching off the life support machine on a loved one.
2. Having dinner with Kanye West without rolling your eyes at all.
3. Switching off the life support machine on a loved one because you can't afford private healthcare and the hospital is closing due to lack of funds.
4. Clicking on a Facebook ad for a miracle flat stomach solution and having rock hard abs in 45 minutes.
5. Switching off the life support machine on a loved one because you can't afford private healthcare and the hospital is closing due to lack of funds because of austerity measures brought in by a government.
6. Passing a kidney stone.
7. Switching off the life support machine on a loved one because you can't afford private healthcare and the hospital is closing due to lack of funds because of austerity measures brought in by a government you voted for.
8. Persuading the NRA that guns might not belong in homes.
9. Switching off the life support machine on a loved one because you can't afford private healthcare and the hospital is closing due to lack of funds because of austerity measures brought in by a government you voted for because you were worried foreigners were making your life worse but you were pretty sure the public services being cut would never affect you because you're normal.
10. Liking reggae music.
I'm so sorry I'm not in you right now, Towcester. I know you'll never know or care that I was supposed to be there. But I'm here in Brighton with a torn bicep and several very smashed up cars either side of my 207.