It may be unavailable or may not exist..."
This is the message I got when I entered 'happy' into the search bar when looking for a sunny, cheering, optimistic image to put up on this post. Worrying, no?
(And just one of the many and varied entertaining things about Virgin)
Because I'm trying. No, really I am. You only have to ask the Girl, who left me in bed this morning nursing painful shoulders, neck and arms - and with a blindingly piercing headache that just won't budge - and she'll tell you how impressed she was that I still had my sense of humour. That my unfailing way to always see the funny side of things hadn't left me or got crushed in the (2nd) mangled heap in the drive to be wrecked at my hands in five months.
And my first thought, as I sat, stunned and shaking in another burny-smelling car which had been shunted across both lanes of the road yesterday morning (thankfully 120 seconds AFTER the school run and not during otherwise this would be an altogether different post) was "That's it. I'm not leaving the house again and certainly never driving another car as long as I live". Seriously, it was. So slightly different to the last time when my first thought was "Shit - I hope that blood isn't from my teeth and how will I get to Sainsburys".
And I remember how it goes - the tune I had to whistle 5 months ago. It's just that the words are slightly different and the melody's a bit tired. And there isn't a 16th Birthday Party to organise in 3 days and the days aren't short and dark and I don't have an arm full of burns and a cut and swollen face this time.
Until I look out of the window and see the wrecked car awaiting it's assessment (I know it'll be a write-off again - I knew the last time - call it intuition but I know the insurers aren't going to fork out for a whole half side of a car which is so caved-in the back seats won't sit down - and a buckled wheel. I just know).
I was never particularly 'attached' to the car anyway. It always reminded me of the crash in November and really it was a rushed replacement for that one when the insurance money came through - a necessity. Not like the one that was chosen so methodically and lovingly from many hours of searching through Which Car? guides and sitting chatting to the lovely Honda people and working out how much we could sensibly afford to pay out each month for it. That one was a wanted car. Our honeymoon car. This one - pah - well, it's just another car. I didn't even care that the spec was slightly better than the last one. That it had a reversing beep (which actually frightened me most of the time) that it had a panoramic static sunroof (what's the point in that unless you want your head to roast in the sun without the benefit of having a breeze to accompany it?) that it had cruise control (which neither of us fully understood and so never even flicked the switch to use) and it had a dual heating system so that the passenger could turn their heat up independently of the driver (I did start to think this might come in handy during the impending Menopause years. That'll teach me).
But more than this, I now find I have an almost overwhelmingly deep-rooted fear about getting back behind the wheel again, knowing how I felt last time this happened. When, invariably, during the early days (esp. when I was in one of the 2 courtesy cars we had) I would arrive at work a trembling wet mess because I'd been such a cautious nelly on the 45 minute drive to work that I'd incensed other drivers into hurling poorly-timed abuse and impatient horn-blowing as I'd either stalled for the fifth time that morning or else just not been confident enough to pull out into busy lanes when they would have done. My heart picked up speed every time I stepped into the car.
And until only recently I wouldn't volunteer to go anywhere I didn't absolutely HAVE to. During half term I actually took the Girl on a Prom dress expedition to a quirky local village - even though I still hesitated a lot being on unfamiliar territory, and I HAD to find a parking space that could take a Sherman Tank, I did it. And I was proud of myself and very, very, relieved to be back home safely in one piece.
So, God only knows how I drove the veering, clanking thing back home yesterday morning with it's wobbly wheel - hitting a top speed of 15 mph - convinced the burning smell was going to suddenly ignite and blow me sky-high. And I think if I hadn't had a police escort in front and a concerned husband behind me, I'd still be at the side of the road shaking and sobbing my heart out now.
Half of me knows that this is just an unhappy co-incidence. The lightening striking twice thing. And I should NOT take it personally and believe that somewhere someone/thing is out to get me and will not rest until they've made a proper job of it.
Whilst the other half is still hoping to become convinced of this.