Driving Miss Mammy

Occasionally, an unfortunate situation arises whereby I am required to drive my Mammy somewhere I do not wish to go and, once there, look at home furnishings. Today, it was Wexford town; a place I have been so frequently over the last week I don’t know why I don’t just set up camp in the Bullring and save myself the petrol money.

It is perhaps a little unfair to claim my Mammy has some kind of lamp fetish. Today we didn’t look at any lamps. We did something worse. We looked at clothes.

Things began to go wrong when I made the fatal mistake of obeying orders that went against my better judgement namely, when my Mammy cried “Park over there!” I did. Or, at least I tried to.
It isn’t like I can’t parallel park. I can. It is a Micra. Everybody can parallel park a Micra. Even me. It’s just that when confronted with a parallel parking situation I have a tendency to go in forwards and spend 20 minutes shunting back and forth in the space trying to get it right rather than doing it properly because I don’t want to get shouted at for blocking the traffic. Think about that next time you see a woman in a car and you are a man in something stupid and expensive.
When I am officially Queen of Everything I shall introduce Rules about how you salesman berks have to behave in future. Tapping your fingers upon the wheel will be banned as will slumping in your seat and massaging your temples. When I am Queen of Everything I shall personally come round to each and every one of you and explain very carefully and slowly and with the use of accompanying diagrams that you are not being put terribly behind schedule because I need 24 seconds to park the car. If you weren’t watching me, you would only be at the traffic lights. At least with me you are getting a floorshow. Be grateful.

So. I attempt to get into the space. Technically I’m not in it properly but as there is now traffic zooming past me I figure that I could leave it. Mammy has other ideas. She orders me to park properly.
I go forwards being careful not to hit the rear bumper of the Mercedes. I go backwards trying not to hit the front bumper of the BMW. Mammy tries to be helpful.
“I can see in the wing mirror. You’ve got loads of room. Go back more.” She says.
“I have not got loads of room. I can see perfectly well and I can see there is not loads of room.” I mutter between clenched teeth.
“YES there is. Go Back More.” She orders.
“Look, if I drive into that car I am going to be the one in trouble. “My Mammy said I had plenty of space” is not an acceptable excuse to write on an insurance form.” I snap.
“You aren’t going to drive into that car because you’ve got lots of room. I can see in the wing mirror!”
“You can’t see in the wing mirror. You just hate BMWs,” Quickly I can continue before she tells me how much room there is “Who is driving? Me! I am driving! I am perfectly capable of parking a car! People are getting past me fine so I don’t know why I am messing around! You do not get points for neatness!” Wildly I jam into first gear, revving the accelerator and jerking off the clutch at speed as I whirl the steering wheel around one handed in displaced rage. The car slots neatly into the space.
“I don’t know why you have to make such a song and dance about these things. There was plenty of room.” Mammy gets out of the car and calmly puts on her jacket.

She drags me to the department store. She holds up a horrible pink linen top and asks me what I think of it. I can’t tell her what I think of it because she will accuse me of being in a bad mood. I suggest she tries it on. Ditto ugly pinstripe trouser. Ditto hideous linen blouse. The blouse jumper thing she picks up is quite nice and I convince her to try that on too. By now I am carrying half the shop around with me but Mammy looks happy. I deposit her in the changing booth and escape to a chair to listen to Michael Bolton and other popular hits of the day.

Mammy tries the clothes on and rejects everything. She decides to have a quick look in the other department while I remain in the chair being told I am once, twice, three times a lady. Without my malevolent presence brooding at her shoulder, she is quickly pounced upon by the sales lady.
“Mmmmmm…. That’s lovely.” The Lady says. Except being Wexford she says “LUF-lee”.
My Mammy is struck dumb. “It’s a little bit young for me.” She says carefully. She is learning the perils of picking up comically bad items of apparel in quiet areas of shops.
“Ah no, it’s very you.” The Lady says. She is wrong. The item in question isn’t anybody. Not even Liberace.
Mammy carefully puts it down, smiling uncertainly and trying to move away. The sales Lady follows her and lunges for a nearby jacket.
“Look at this now. Isn’t it GAH-geous? It’s LUF-lee isn’t it? Ah God it’s GAH-geous. Jaesus now isn’t that nice?” She continues in this vein until my Mammy agrees to try in on. I wander over to take a look having been confidently informed it is best to do certain things just in case tomorrow doesn’t happen after all. It is just as bad as I expected.

Eventually we escape and have a nice cup of coffee. It is only when I get back to the car that I remember the second reason I didn’t want to park here. I can’t turn round so must instead make my way up past the Roundabout of Small Gradient Ratio, the Nice Hotel and Selskar Abbey. I do so, all the while silently cursing fate, medieval cities and the one way system.

Mammy wants to be taken to another shop. I comply and heap lavish admiration on everything she holds up against her body. When we get back to the car I must reverse carefully. She distracts me by drawing my attention to nearby pedestrians who, if they continue at their current speed and trajectory, will be in my way in a little under 12 and a half minutes. I narrowly miss reversing into a trolley.

We nip to the supermarket and she stays in the car because she is tired out. I buy her a book and some illicit ginger cookies. On the way home she even compliments my driving. I must finally be doing something right.

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