The Curious Incident of the Spare Wheel in the Night-time

Apologies to readers: this post is long

Apologies to Mark Haddon (or possibly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) for the title of this post. It also seems that they are making a movie of the book, so that is most excellent. But I digress even before I get started. To the point!

The Point
Yesterday was a mostly tranquil day, with very little to set it aside from any other day. The only thing that was different to usual was that Angie and I went to a place called Fuel Cafe to help Lisa celebrate her birthday.
Lisa was discharged from hospital on Wednesday, so she said we should gather for a “tame boogie” at 10:30.
Given that description and the context, one would be forgiven for expecting that this would be some sort of brunch/tea-like affair. Of course, 10:30 should actually have been read 22h30. This is way past my bedtime. I’m an old man now.

Still, we arrived enthusiastically at about 11p.m., expecting to stay maybe and hour or two.

Fuel is a most excellent spot. It is a club and it has plants in buckets hanging from the ceiling. I don’t think I’ve every seen a club decorated with actual living plant things before.
It also had upturned buckets hanging down. They served as lamp-shades. I wish I had my camera with me. Alas!
Since the company was good, and the vibe was good, and I drank coffee and didn’t get tired, we stayed until about 01h45. Then the birthday-girl chose to depart, and we followed. We followed her home in order to continue the tame boogie and partake in a herbal treats.

For some reason, it was deemed necessary to watch an episode or two of “Scrubs.” Having not seen any episodes of the show, the first episode proved most chucklesome.
By this time, 3a.m. was upon us. Angie had passed out on Dan’s bed; Jaco, Dan, and Michaele (guessing on the spelling of this one, and I’m probably guessing wrong) had repeatedly knocked over the same ash-tray, and I was almost completely sober. Time to go home to bed for real. The evening had been a blast, but enough now.

The Actual Point
Just as I revived Angie from her slumber, she received a phonecall from her friend. I will refer to this friend as “Bob-the-Friend” for the sake of her privacy.
Driving home a little less sober than advisable, she’d driven off the road and mangled one of her wheels. Shouldn’t really be a major problem, since cars have spare wheels just for this very kind of thing. Indeed, she has such a spare wheel in her motor-vehicle. Except, on Tuesday, she and my dear wifely unit, Angie, had managed to mangle one of the other wheels by driving into obstacles on the highway, instead of avoiding them (which is customary behaviour). Thus, the spare wheel was already in use, rendering it no longer spare. Eish.

Angie and I travelled from Auckland Park to Northumberland Drive to the rescue. On our arrival we discovered that she’d built up quite a collection of by-standers. Bob-the-Friend, her sister, and her sister’s friend. They’d all been travelling in the vehicle of the mangled wheel.

But that’s not all! Someone from ADT security had arrived, and was protecting the damsels in distress. He was a fairly decent chap, and considering he had a gun and bulletproof-vest, I figure he also a pretty good deterent for those with malicious intensions.

But if you call now, you also get a dodgy, weedy, shifty-eyed character, who drives a Fiat Uno filled with broken computer hardware! Why, oh why did we call?

The shifty-eyed dude was trying to change the tyre, but recall that there was no spare tyre. For some reason he figured his Uno spare would fit nicely onto a Ford Fiesta. No surprise when it didn’t.

Not a problem – we happen to also own a Ford Fiesta, thus the spares would be compatible. All that was required was that we return home, fetch the other car and swop the wheels out. Problem was, Bob-the-Friend’s travelling companions needed to get home, so someone had to give them a lift. Shifty-eyes was really keen to be the guy. Shifty-eyes admitted to not knowing Bob-the-Friend’s companions from a bar of soap, yet felt he was trustworthy enough to drive them home.
Uh… no.

We resolved that I would drive drop them home, fetch my Fiesta and return to the site of the Curious Incident. The ADT dude would kindly hang around at the car with Angie and Bob-the-Friend until my return, continuing with his role as “Damsel in Distress Defender.”
Shifty-eyes started throwing a tantrum. He flung his spare tyre back into the boot of his rickety vehicle and angrily slammed his computer detritus in along with it. All the time muttering about how he couldn’t handle this and how he “Needed to get drugs!”
It was strange how much more composed and friendly he was before it became clear that he wasn’t going to have a couple of under-age teenage girls alone to himself.

So, I ran my errands and returned. The kind ADT man switched the tyres, and we were all pleased and cheerful with ourselves. This was until we realised that the car keys were missing. I realised that Bob-the-Friend’s sister had handed them to me as I dropped her off at home. Unfortunately, I’d left them in the other car which was at home. Bugger.
As I tried to break the news to the ADT man, I could see his patience slipping. Clearly from my face, I wasn’t about to share excellent news like, “Oh, here the keys are!” He looked at me with trepidation, and started to shake his head slowly. Before I’d even started to explain, he was already going, “No. No. No.”
I thanked him for his help, and told him he should go if he wanted, and that I’d return shortly with the keys. Clearly the whole situation had wasted more of his evening than he’d expected. He fled the scene gladly.

Drove home, dropped Bob-the-Friend off. Picked up the keys. Returned with Angie. Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.


I lost my cool slightly. Up until that point I’d been very composed and relaxed and quite happy about all of the events that had transpired. I’d enjoyed my evening, and I’d even enjoyed helping out fixing the car situation. That Buddhism stuff is really effective. I am not kidding. It works really well. I hadn’t felt at all put out the whole evening until this point.
5a.m. and the car would mobilise. Gaaaaaaaaah! The was verbal abuse and a brief spurt of irrational ranting. But I noticed it quickly, didn’t give in and pulled it back into check.

We decided to push the car out of the road, and then after pushing it, tried once more to get it started. The engine turned. We drove.

I think Bob has a hang-over now.

And I’d give Fuel Cafe a visit if I were you. Can’t find their webpage (if they have one), but here’s where they are, and here’s what Google spews out so you don’t even have to submit the query. I’m such a buddy!
Well worth it. On the Corner of Carr and Quinn, Newtown, Joburg. Tel:(011) 838 9277

5 thoughts on “The Curious Incident of the Spare Wheel in the Night-time”

  1. Good lord. How do you Robinsons manage to get yourselves into such adventures? 🙂

  2. Was this monday evening, or post-meditation evening?

    I hope it didn’t produce too much negative karma.

  3. No. Monday night.
    Positive karmic result, I’d guess.

    Silly blogger doesn’t give the comment dates – I’ll have to see whether I can adjust that or not

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