An unseasonably wet and cold summer day. After I left the office at about a quarter past 5pm, I walked out to my car. The large parking lot was almost deserted, only a few cars and no people. Huge white and grey clouds above, the sun somewhere behind one of the westely ones, some wind, patches of wet and dry tarmac around me. I got into the car and turnd the key. Only a quiet clicking noise.

Shit. I had the side-lights on when I came to work in the rain. I didn't turn them off. (I have been aksed what side-lights are. These are running lights, the lowest setting of the headlights - strong enough to make the car more visible on a gloomy day, but not strong enough to provide illumination. )

Ok, stop, breath, think. Turn of the lights, wait a minute, try again. Just that clicking noise.

I could call security at thier post at the gate around the other side of the building and ask for a push or find someone to use my jumper cables on. I'm forgetfull. I've done this too many times before. I always keep jumper cables in the car.

But first lets try it myself. The parking lot is long, but I am parked near the one end of it, facing towards the edge. So I open the door and begin, to push, turning the steering wheel.

The car slowly moves, and turns but it's getting harder, I must be pushing up a slight slope. I get behind the car and push but the steering wheel unwinds. Now I am heading 90 off my original facing, straight towards the side wall, and too close to turn around even if I could push hard enough. So I go back to the driver's door, crank the steering wheel the other way and push the car backwards. Now gravity is with me and the car swings around to on the face the length of the lot.


I get behind the car and heave. It slowly starts to roll. It doesen't seem to be, wait, it's faster than it was. I'm at a walk now, then almost at a trot. Slowly pouring kinetic energy into this massive awkward lump of metal and plastic, storing biological energy to be released in one great mechanical kick.

I'm heading for a tree. I trot forward, open the driver's door that has blown closed and tug at the wheel, pushing the car again, though it's less effective from this position.

I pass to the left of the tree, and it's now or never. I hop in and smoothy engage the clutch, put the car into first, and let the clutch loose while turning the key. It starts. At first it's a thin splutter, then a whine, but it's definitly turning. I rev the engine a bit, and then ease into gear and turn right towards the exit. The engine pulls for a fraction of a second and then dies. I am heading to the edge of the lot, coasting. Immediately, without pausing to think I redo the procedure: get out of gear, turn the key and reengage. The engine starts again. I get out of gear and brake whilst reving the engine. I sit there, the car at rest, and all I can hear is my breathing, gasping, panting, the result of adrenalin and exertion.

Motherfuck. It's all I can say to myself.

An hour later, at gym, I push myself through the circuit harder than I have in a long time. I remember doing this circuit in early 1997, which means I've been working out there for a bit more than 5 years.