Organising a special event.
How difficult can it be to sort out a special vehicle for my son so he could make a grand entrance on his final day at school for Year 11? Many of his mates were travelling by limo and had block-booked seats. The cost was ridiculous considering he also needed a suit and there was also the celebratory evening prom party to pay for. I had just left my job to start a full time university course to complicate matters. Then, I thought of my uncle. He always had a passion for sports cars. I remember him returning for fleeting visits from New York, Canada and Wyoming where he had made his base. He turned up once on my grandmother’s doorstep back in the UK in a two seater vermillion sports car when I was small enough to know it was an expensive car and what colour it was, but not its engine size, make or model. It was streamlined and stunning. So, considering he owned an Aston Martin many years later and he is my uncle, I decided to give him a call. Now, I am no master of every technological invention and nor do I own the most elaborate mobile phone, but I do have a list of contacts in the cheap, non-descript mobile that has basic functions such as a torch!
Scanning through the list of contacts, I settled on the name I needed (Roger) and handed my son the phone. He pressed dial and waited for a man to pick up. My son went into this spiel of who he was and why he was calling. Did he still have his Aston Martin as he would be eternally grateful if …blah blah blah. The man on the other end listened and ummed and ahhhed before admitting no, he sadly didn’t have an Aston Martin, had never owned one, even though he would have liked to, but if he did he would certainly have given my son a ride in one. I listened to the conversation (mostly viewing my son’s confused look and hearing his side of the tale), then was passed the phone.
‘Ah, hi Roger. How are you … Just wondering if you still had that gorgeous Aston Martin? Let me explain -‘
‘As much as I would like to own one, I never have.’
‘Oh,’ I say, wondering if I got the make, model and description wrong (basing this on my female knowledge of flashy, expensive sports cars, ‘Do you have a different um sports car then?’ The embarrassment of this conversation is already beginning to sink in.
‘Er … No.’ I scratch my head. How is this possible? How can I get the car idea so horribly wrong? ‘Perhaps Mike will know where you can get a car of that calibre?’ He suggests alternatives down the line.
I’m really scratching my head now. How does he remember my father-in-law’s name? He only met him at my wedding 20 odd years ago.
Several awkward minutes passed. My head cleared and it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t speaking to the man I thought I was. It was the plumber, who lived next door to my father-in-law. My husband had stored Roger’s name in my contacts list as we were having a bathroom fitted … and my son had called the wrong number, because I had selected Roger (and now I know that I had stored my uncle’s contact number under my aunt’s name!)
My son was fortunate enough to have a ride in my uncle’s Aston Martin, when we finally rang the right person. It made his final day of Year 11 doubly exciting as it was also his birthday and he was also going on a school trip. Their journey to a railway station 20 odd miles away in the asphalt grey car rather than the two miles to school (which he probably would have reached in less than two seconds!) was indeed memorable (my uncle sold the car not long after). I think he’s got over the embarrassment, but I can feel my cheeks pinking up while I write this!