Yoda in the Skoda

There was a Mondeo in Bellmullet. Test, no tax, “….she won’t need much….” after that it was all Ballina, Ballycastle and Castlebar. Passats, Hondas and heaps of Insignias. There was Insignias everywhere. All washed, looking good, but dead inside. “Engine light on, not sure, probably just a sensor…” which is Chinese for that oil seal yoke that blows the engine that everyone suddenly knows about and is dying to tell you only after you buy it. Been there, done that, burnt the fuckin t-shirt. One lad had a Skoda for sale but had no keys. The car was locked but you could look in the side window and if you liked what you saw you could tow it away. No tax, test, and no logbook “…hence the price…” 

On went the dream. A Kia in Limerick. A Tuscon in Crossmolina. Cars in the North at crazy cheap prices til you add the VRT and the wonderful Nox. An Avensis in Headford. A Focus in Roscommon.  Lads offering PCP. Sure PCP is easy. Almost certain to get it. Here’s one now, a nice 1 litre, affordable, reliable, guaranteed. Call today, drive away. Yours by lunch, no credit crunch. Take the wheel, enjoy the steal. Want to go far, then buy this car. Sure that’ll do, time to get out of the dregs, into the big leagues, shiny at the football pitch with the child, big shtuff. Here we went, just a case of picking it up. There was breeze, a bruised sky, and an uncertain salesman. Yeah, them deals were a while ago, where’d you read that?  

– Internet. 

-Oh right. See. Well. Let’s try.  

We tried. There was paperwork. Questions. More questions. Questions about questions. Bit like giving blood. Then there was forms. Beloved forms. Upload this, scan that, make sure it’s this date and from these places only. Now we’ll think about it. Hit submit and we’ll be back within 48 to 72 hours and we might need more. Depends on if you fucked it up. No car today, no steal of a deal or fancy wheels making lunch time reels around shiny new leather roundabouts of long term debt and wonderful guarantees of reliable travel. 

Back to Donedeal. Even the Skoda with no keys was gone by now.  

The phone rang, then. The dealer that bought the Peugeot. Christ, Jesus, why’s he ringing me? Didn’t I tell him it didn’t work? He was hardly wondering about the weedkiller in the engine? 

I answered with a tentative, hello? Like I wasn’t sure who it was. Casual, innocent, blameless in this whole mess.  

He didn’t buy it, asked: ‘Have you got a new car yet?  

‘Heh?’ 

‘Are you still lookin for somethin? I met your oul fella downtown. He said you were lookin…’ 

‘I….am. Well, just waiting on a PCP….’ 

‘I have a yoke here for ya.’ 

‘Oh yeah?’ 

‘Yeah, two months test, tax, and in good shape. I’ll call around and show to ya.’ 

‘Eh….’ 

‘Are you at the house?’ 

‘Ya.’ 

‘Sound….I’ll be outside in two minutes.’ 

And he was.  

 

  

Notes on Confidence.

It’s over. It’s done. No more writing. Time to delete all the files, all the words, all the articles and the half finished novels and badly baked stories. Take down the blogs. Remove all the links and pictures. Burn all the reviews. Put the laptop in the microwave and swing the microwave to full power. When you’re sure the hard drive is toasted and burnt you take the microwave and all and throw it in the skip downstairs. And now it’s done. No more anxiety about what to write, who to write about, where to start. No more fear that the world is secretly laughing at you, talking in quiet circles about how you can’t write, shouldn’t write, wrote something terrible that makes everyone cringe. How they smile to your face and roll their eyes behind your back. It’s all a joke, a conspiracy, a waste of your life and time and social reputation and it’s time to grow up and stop dreaming. Get a job, a normal job, one that pays normally and you don’t have to beg for the crumbs off the Arts Council table or the publishers that don’t pay on time or the theatres that take 40% of the door when they had agreed 20% but hey, read the small print. Best of luck with the eviction.

But you are now free. The path is clear. The distant dream that has dominated your thoughts for years is gone and now you can sit back and enjoy your life without the unrealistic pressure of making it as an artist. And….well. What else? The next day you wake up and all you want to do is write. There’s that story you’d forgotten about. That song that’s looping in your head and you’re sure it’s original. It’s yours, it’s been fermenting for months and you finally have the tune. That line to finish that poem. That word you’d been waiting for turns up on the newspaper and you know it’s perfect. It’s the perfect ending to the verse of the Poetry that yesterday you regarded as pointless. The theatre isn’t that bad, it was just a clerical error and they call you to apologise. The publisher wants to know why your site is offline because people are trying to buy your books. An e-mail comes from a random stranger to say they’ve enjoyed your work and it touched them in a way that was unique and made an important difference to their lives. And here’s that idea for a film. The soundtrack, the themes, the script, all coming together in a flood of inspiration like water and your head’s like a submarine that’s about to burst with the pressure. Time to go back down to the skip and rescue the laptop but the skip is gone. Still, deep down you know you’ve saved everything on an external hard drive and you needed a new laptop anyway so time to head to the computer shop and ask for Flexi finance. After, you put back all the links, find all the reviews, put the website back online. Find them half baked stories and discover they’re not that bad. Maybe that novel’s closer than you think. Here’s the royalty payment in the post. Rent paid for another month. You confidence is back. Time to get writing.