I don’t like pushing in the petrol pump trigger anymore – it makes me feel slightly ill. The dizzying spinning of the cost indicator racing ahead of faded former champion ‘number of litres'. Then the anger: An anger born from the creeping sense of throwing away money, amplified by annoyance at the girl behind the counter who still smiles even though she's taking money off me she doesn't deserve. I want an apologetic stance from her; a downbeat glum acceptance of the times we live in. She could wear black to mourn the passing of affordable travel, raising her veil as I approach. She'll look into my eyes and tell me how sorry she is that things have worked out this way.
Back in the car, and my post fuel purchase driving is affected by my bad mood. I believe such a sharp upturn in the cost of driving should be compensated by an enhanced experience: Emptier roads; traffic lights who’s green hue stalks me. I want people standing on the pavement clapping and cheering, unfurling banners with slogans like, ‘Keep the pedal down for us Matt!’ They'll appreciate that however much the bastards rob me, my heart will still pump golden diesel through my veins. There will be a battered blue Peugeot rolling along the empty streets when the sun stops burning.
The radio interrupts, it tells me that I am not forgotten; that Gordon Brown has sensed my pain. He’s going to help: He’s not going to put a further 2p on the price of a litre of fuel that he was apparently going to. Is this not the equivalent of helping an old lady who’s fallen over by not kicking her hard in the stomach as she lies on the pavement? My foot pushes down harder on the accelerator and the music’s up dark and loud.
The local radio DJ starts a sentence with, ‘isn’t it just typical...’ and goes on to bemoan something ‘that’s just typical’. I tell him out loud to cheer up. I’m a man in a car talking into thin air, and they put that song on where that girl chants ‘it’s not my name’. I like that song.