A Covid lockdown upside? Cops won’t get me for attempted car-jacking because I wore my mask – Susan Morrison
The headphones I use for my endless Zoom calls got broken. Turns out, they don’t like being stood on. Very annoying. I particularly liked those ones.
They had a microphone that swung out in front of your face. I rather fondly thought they made me look like Madonna on tour. Truth be told, it was more like Darren in Sports Direct.
Also, they lit up when I wore them and these days I take my fun where I can find it.
Headphones are an essential, especially light-up ones. This meant I could go shopping with a clear conscience. One worries about exiting a shop these days to be confronted by a masked First Minister glaring balefully over the tartan like a vengeful Lone McRanger, demanding to know what you're up to. She’s on campaign, remember, she can pop up anywhere.
To B&M Homestores. I took the broken ones along. Just in case she did appear. Glorious day, music playing, good old Elton.
Remember, few have left B&M without buying more than they actually need. Got the headphones. They light up. Also, candles, detergent spray and a set of solar-powered, colour-changing garden lanterns, because, y’know, colour-changing.
Back to the car park, joyfully burdened and singing away quietly to myself, happy little head-bob going on. My car keys were in my back pocket, evidence that I’m rusty at the consumer game since I would never have made that mistake back in the day.
Managed to juggle boxes, get keys and hit the button. Heard the car make that unlocking thunk noise. Still singing away, flung open the rear passenger door, threw in the candles, upped the volume a little on the chorus, and looked up.
And locked eyes with the lady in the driver seat.
This is not my car.
My car is behind this car.
I have chucked my candles into the rear passenger footwell of a car belonging to a complete stranger who is on the phone, probably to the police.
Split-second decision. Do I leave the candles and run away? No. I grope about the floor apologising like an Englishman on steroids. Retrieve candles, close door, and run away whilst the baffled and somewhat alarmed other lady stares at me.
In order to reassure her, and to show what a silly-billy I’d been, I start waving at my car. I must look like a drunken praying mantis practising semaphore.
Headphones, candles and solar-powered colour-changing lights going flying in all directions.
She’s still on the phone. I can practically hear the sirens coming to get me. I get my car door open (checking first that there isn’t a complete stranger sitting in the driver's seat) and fling my B&M booty into the passenger seat.
Glance sideways. She’s off the phone. She’s laughing. This is good.
Mentally recalibrate plans to live down this embarrassment by changing my name to Edith Hartingon-Smythe and move to Ulan Bator.
Glance in the mirror. Excellent. Still wearing my mask. Good chance she won’t be able to pick me out in a police line-up. Lockdown silver lining.
So, if you are that poor innocent suddenly startled by a short over-excited woman singing Elton John as she hurled candles in the car, it was me. And I’m really sorry. Sorry.