And now I relate two recent London misadventures. I encourage you to hit play above as you read.
This one hasn’t become funny yet, because it’s an ongoing nuisance. But I hope someday very, very soon I will look back and laugh. For the past week or so, every weekday morning at about 7 or 8, there begins a persistent and very loud jackhammering right beneath my window. They are literally digging up the entire street behind my flat, with giant machines that look strangely out of place on the narrow, crooked street. And since I only have early class one day a week, there’s now only one reason for me to be up at such a respectable hour the other four days. I lie there imagining all the things I’d like to do to exact my revenge – things involving pellet guns, paint guns, slingshots, water balloons, ferocious wild animals I cage and unleash at just the right moment – you get the idea. I haven’t done anything yet, but I hear that lack of sleep can make people crazy.
The other night I offered to drive my flatmate’s friend home after they pulled an all-nighter studying. On the way back from the opposite end of London – I live southeast, and her flat is northwest – in the pouring rain, just on the north side of Vauxhall bridge, at 4:30am, the car breaks down. And it won’t start back up. My flatmate futilely attempts a push start, but he’s pushing uphill without a chance of getting good momentum. I continue trying to start the car while we contemplate the exorbitant tow ride home. We’re sitting in the car mere feet from the large intersection before the bridge. A couple of near-starts give me hope, and I eventually coax a chugging cough from the engine, pop it into gear… only to watch it die again once first is engaged, still a few feet shy of the red light. Now we really think we’ve got a chance, but we need to time the start just right to make sure we get through the large and surprisingly busy intersection. Three more attempts to roll forward begin and fail quickly. We’re a little nervous we’re going to get stuck in the middle of the intersection. I get it started once more, but this time on the assumption that the issue is clutch-related, I pop it in to second, gas the crap out of it and release the clutch. We grind forward slowly, the engine chugs worryingly, but eventually second gear engages properly and we’re off, on Vauxhall bridge and over the hill. Not wanting to do anything to upset the fickle clutch-engine situation, I drive home in second the whole way, running a couple of lights and only stopping at a few large intersections. To say we were relieved and amazed that we made it home is an understatement. If it wasn’t so late, we would have thrown a party to celebrate right then and there.