Ted and I motored down to Cork this week to get some bits. Walking past the Everyman Theatre I told Ted how I will be doing my biggest comedy show to date there next week, and Ted was suitably impressed.
‘Mommy!’ he squealed, pointing to Deirdre O’Kane, and honestly getting confused with the best looking human in comedy is such a compliment I didn’t even bother correcting him.
It is quite surreal passing places I frequented during my time in UCC but this time armed with my number one guy and a stackful of emergency wet wipes. When you’re in the company of a toddler full of wonder everything starts to take on a magical quality - and these days our latest obsession is cars.
Yes, Ted is officially a boy racer in the making, and loves nothing more than watching lanes of traffic move at a glacial pace.
Car parks are essentially Ted’s equivalent of DisneyWorld, and somewhat less sinister (call me a sexist but I just don’t trust Minnie).
On the way home Ted’s year is made when we get pulled over at a Garda checkpoint for a random search, along with an array of big and small trucks, much to Ted’s delight.
Ted takes obvious glee in me explaining to the guard that I am booked in for the NCT. He also enjoys watching me having to produce my license, especially because Ted is actually eating it at the time. I think it’s safe to say we could have a future Guard on our hands, and not just because neon yellow looks great on him. Something about Ted’s presence screams ‘tax and insurance’ - he exudes an imitable quiet authority.
‘I’ll just check the boot for drugs but I’m sure we’re okay’ - the young guard chuckles, and I am suddenly morbidly offended. ‘Maybe I DO have drugs on me’, I want to retort, but I zip it for fear of ending up as a cautionary Garda tweet.
As he has a peak I am inexplicably anxious, nervous even, sweating like a passenger on Nothing To Declare who has been asked to carry a bag for an Englishman they met at a beach party in Thailand. Remembering the exploded talcolm powder all over the spare tyre I start to fret none of this is looking good, but thankfully the guard returns to my window and we’re in the clear.
That was a close one! I exhale, another crisis averted.
Ted has started to show the guard his selection of vehicles now. The guard asks if he has a licence and we all laugh the exaggerated laugh you laugh when a guard makes a light joke at a checkpoint.
The breathalyser is produced and Ted is losing his mind - this unexpected encounter just gets better and better. I’ve never been breathalysed before and even though the closest thing I’ve had to an alcoholic beverage in months is a wine gum I’m still starting to perspire as I blow into the ominous black box.
On more than one occasion this week Ted has woken me up in the middle of the night by calling for his garage. Gone are the days where he would like a bottle, he now wants his double storey mechanics station to be deposited into the cot with him, and sorry Ted but we have to draw the line somewhere.
In the morning after we feed Molly the cat we head straight for the garage and I usually bring my aspiring meicneoir his toast so he can work on the job, because time is money, etc etc.
If Fred and I didn’t have to work for a living (capitalism wins again!) I could easily wile away the day conjuring up imaginary car-related stories and to be fair both Ted and I get ridiculously invested in a lot of the plot points.
Usually the stories we fabricate revolve around injured legomen, dinosaurs on the track, ambulances and police cars and serious incidents involving sheep driving fire trucks. Occasionally I will attempt to interject and try to save a car from certain destruction, much to Ted’s chagrin who, like Elon Musk, believes cars don’t need people to drive them.
We are off for the NCT this week and it’s Leaving Cert 2001 all over again. I am a ball of nerves because I know the Yaris owes me nothing but having put a chunk of change into it over the last few months I dread to think it will be up there with my investment in Bitcoin as one of my worse financial decisions.
The last time I brought Ted we passed, thus as my lucky charm and eternal mascot he’s definitely coming again. So surprised was I to get the NCT on my last visit I actually bought the testers a box of Roses which I’m pretty sure is illegal.
So if you work in the Tralee NCT centre and you’re reading this, you know what to do. Ted and I aren’t looking to bribe you or anything, but let’s just say what we lack in spare tyres we make up for in chocolates. And just to reiterate that is most definitely talcolm powder.