Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Tour de Farce
My Dad took me over the local park to teach me, a typical father/son outing. As with most kids, it looked like I was never going to get it, and then all of a sudden everything clicked into place. I was riding on my own, this was easy, and I was so pleased with myself. I remember feeling the wind rushing through my hair and I remember turning round to wave at Dad. I remember the bike veering suddenly and I remember heading down the hill towards the pond. What I forgot, was where the brakes were or how to use them.
But do you know what’s harder than learning to ride a bike? Trying to buy one, that’s what. I spent last Saturday trying to buy my 5 year old her first bike without stabilisers. A fairly simple task you would think, after all, we live right near a branch of a major national bike and car accessory shop. At first I thought the problem would be that they have too many models of bike to choose from, but she picked out the one she wanted and the price suited me, so no issues there.
Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock, but after the kind man checked his computer, he informed me that the branch 30 minutes down the road did. I wish he had used the same computer that they use in Little Britain, the one that always said no. At least I would have saved myself the journey, because lo and behold they had none in stock there either. Nor did the next one that was another 20 minutes down the road, their computer actually said they had three in stock. Do I really need to tell you how many they actually had in stock? Have a gold star, you guessed right, none.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times and I guess I’m just dumb enough to be asking for it. The conversation I had with the spotty teenager in the 4th branch of Halfwits went something like this.
“Hi, I’m hoping you can help me. I have been told you have a Sparkle 16” bike in stock and I really need to buy it off you, will that be possible?”
“Erm let me check my computer. Yes we do have one in stock but it’s the display model.”
“Excellent, as long as it has two wheels and a handlebar then I’ll take it, is there any discount as it’s shop soiled?”
“I’m afraid not, any item we can still order from Head Office cannot be discounted.”
“You’re kidding right? You know what, I’m not bothered, I’ll pay full price.”
“Sorry, I don’t really want to sell it to you, it’s too much hassle when they get returned.”
“Believe me, after all the aggro I’ve been through, I won’t be returning it.”
“I still don’t want to sell it to you.”
“Listen mate, if you don’t sell me that bike, one of two things will happen. The first is that I walk out of here in a simmering rage back to my car. In that car are my Wife and two fighting screaming kids, all of whom have been sitting in a car that is doing a decent impression of an oven right now. An oven we have been driving around in for 2 hours, just trying to find this particular bike. I will open the door to the car and before I can utter a single word, my wife, who is quite intuitive, will notice I don’t have a bike under my arm. She will then start telling me, in a voice that is one notch too loud, that she cannot understand why I can’t even manage to buy a bike without it becoming a song and dance. She will have a point, but that doesn’t make hearing it any easier, so I will probably snap back some kind of nasty retort. We will probably trade insults and throw in some still-festering arguments for good measure. One of the kids will start to kick the back of my seat, whilst the other one shouts and screams and demands food. After about 149 seconds of this, something inside of me will snap. I will exit the car, my wife still reminding me what a failure I am and I will go to the boot. When there I will look for something sharp, but failing that, settle for my golf umbrella. I will then wedge the handle of my umbrella against the kerb, place the tip of it against by heart and with a calm look of acceptance on my face, throw myself upon it. This will be done with such force that the umbrella will pass through me down to the handle, the wind will pick up, and the umbrella will pop open. Upon hearing all the screams, you will rush outside and see my still grinning carcass being blown around the car park, my wife chasing it shouting “you couldn’t even kill yourself properly.” With a speed of mind that belies the dumb arse look on your face, you capture my final moments on your phone. You will post the video clip on YouTube and it will go viral within a week. You also upload the stills to your Twitter account and gain yourself 113 new followers. A year will pass, and you forget all about me. Five years later you will actually find somebody to marry you, but between you and me, she’s only agreed because she’s five months pregnant. Oh and the real father is your best man Derek, but you won’t find that out until the kid turns eight. But when little Del is five, you will take him out one hot Saturday morning to buy his first bike. As you stand there listening to the spotty little oik behind the counter tell you that there are no bikes in stock because of the rising cost of aluminium in China, you will remember me, and you will start to cry and you will never be able to stop.”
“What’s the second thing that could happen?”
“You can explain to my wife why we can’t have the bike.”
“The bike is yours sir, and here’s a complimentary safety helmet.”