The Best Thing
The Fleet Service station on the M3. Starbucks. On the way back from an enjoyable day out in Wells, a delightful cathedral city. The man opposite is having a coffee and cake. He is round and bald and he is eating the cake with a fork. Well mannered? Anal? I will find out.
Like many he is entranced with his mobile device. So far nothing odd, nothing to comment on. Then he explodes with joy, he whoops, his body ripples with happiness.. Unbelievable, he cries.
Someone has texted him about a lottery win, he has been promoted, the affair he has been organising on the net is on for tonight. No, no, no these would be matters to keep close to his chest.
This is something else. As it turns out , more important. He tells. I have been here twenty minutes and my car is charged almost 60 per cent. You looking at me. It can be no one else. He is telling me. What? you have an electric car. Yes I’ll be out if here in a minute and will have paid nothing in petrol.
Why is he telling me. Has he no friends, Do they already know. I dont drive, I dont care or know anything about cars. He’s not my type. But I went to a good school conversation is called for.
How long have you had an electric car? I shouldnt of asked. More joy, more excitement of almost an unnatural kind. A year, I’ve done 15000 miles. No petrol, less tax, no congestion charges. It fantastic,it’s the best thing I have ever done.
The best thing? Has he had no love life, children, professional satisfaction. The best thing in his life is buying an electric car. Has he never seen a sunset on the Himalaya, dawn over the ocean, made love in the open air, seen a baby born. No,no,he has bought an electric car.
Its fantastic my sat nav tells me where the charging stations are and if I can make it. I never have to worry. It’s the best thing I have ever done.
He is beginning to repeat himself. I am trying not smile. I am trying to show interest but I am losing the will even to breath. Whats next? the efficiency of his solar panels, his strategy for avoiding hold ups on the M25, the talent of his dentist.
He has finished his cake. Then looking at his cell phone he says, its done, completely charged, not a penny, how brilliant is that. How brilliant indeed. Passing ships in the night,sometimes its best that it stays that way. As he walks out of my life towards the joy of his life I notice he has a limp.