Why do insurance companies specialize in making drivers who are looking for quotes feel guilty? So you’ve got three years no claims discount? Why only three? – Well, I probably had an accident a few years ago – in fact I had a prang about six years ago and it was disputed and took three years to settle and then they took away my no claims. What’s that about – a problem? I have to ask what they want. Business without risk of course. Only three years without a claim – he isn’t one of those drivers who is ultra-cautious and polishes his car on Sundays and never breaks the speed limit. How many penalty points do you have? None? Are you kidding me? You don’t sound like the sort of guy to have none. In this day and age? Of course you must have some, but if you’re going to lie to me, that’s fine because we now have the perfect get-out clause on your policy – you lied, it’s null and void.
Deaf in my right ear. Have been so for some years, but today and yesterday it’s assumed deafening proportions. It’s that underwater feeling when the water just won’t come out. With the hearing aids in there’s a little sound, but it’s fairly little. I start to wonder if this is in fact not an ear infection (most likely explanation as my tear duct is also sore) but another step – a quantum drop – in the ever deteriorating body. Does it matter being 59? Does it matter that I can’t hear everything, that the sight is second-rate, that there are always aches? And what other performance characteristics are measurably worse. We’re in the Lancaster, we’re ditching. The film is grey and grainy. The dials – there are many – are flicking back and forth – the biggest one has years on it and that’s steadily emptying like the fuel gauge as kerosene streams from engine four. Then there’s the memory gauge… holding steady at half mast. The crew is watching my piloting skills with frowns on their faces. Shouldn’t the assistant pilot take over? Are we going to crash land or ditch in the sea? But hang on, the gauge is faulty – the hearing is fine, it’s just that the hearing aid is blocked. The memory gauge, is that broken – not a chance – the memory is fucked.
Do you expect the world to come and get you? Do you think anyone wants to see another’s self-pity and destructive doubt written large in front of them? Of course not. It acts like a mirror. They work hard to keep the wagon rolling, and then you leap out in front of them like death and it causes their horses to shy and the wagon to swerve off the trail.


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