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His Rage Will Keep Him Warm

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 18, 2023

Back in the 1980s, I bought an old secondhand Skoda. At the time, they were very unfashionable and the butt of many, many jokes. But they were cheap, tough, and reliable.

My neighbour across the road bought a Mercedes at around the same time and thought he was the bee’s knees. He crowed about how expensive and exclusive his car was, all the executive options it had, and what a shame it was that I was stuck with just a Skoda. We both left for work at about the same time every morning, and he constantly sneered at my ugly, cheap car. He would jump in his smart shiny Merc and rev the engine, asking me, “Hear that? Doesn’t it sound good?” while my valiant little Skoda chugged away. 

Then, winter arrived, and the temperature overnight dropped way below freezing for the first time. At 6:00 am, I went out, started my car, and started scraping ice off the windows. My neighbour came out and laughed at me.

Neighbour: “I bet you wish your car had heated seats like mine!”

He got in his car. I had the glorious opportunity to listen to his car completely fail to start, over and over. He kept turning the key, and there was just that whirring noise of the car failing to start over and over until the battery started to fade, too. All the time, his face was getting redder and redder and angrier and angrier. Finally, he got out, slammed the door, and stamped back into his house.

This happened three mornings in a row. He wouldn’t look at me. He wouldn’t even catch my eye as I got my car going and drove off. I even gave him a cheery wave.

He had to buy some electric thing that ran from the house under the bonnet. I’m not sure what, maybe an engine warmer or something — I’m not remotely technical. I waved to him every day from my cheap, ugly, super-reliable Skoda.

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