Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Auto Mike...

Tonight, as I stood in the new transport interchange looking at a screen telling me where to catch my bus, I met a lovely young man called Auto Mike. Auto Mike's eyes are too close together. Auto Mike looked about 14 but, I would find out later, he is 24. Auto Mike, as the name almost but not quite suggests, is a professional mobile car valeter. He started valeting cars when he was 16. That's eight years of experience, which, in the 10 minutes we shared the same time and place, he attempted to convey in rapido detail. He also gave me his mobile phone number and offered to valet my car for a fiver. "What do you do for a living, sir?" asked Auto Mike. "I write." "I write too," said Auto Mike. "I have written 450 pages. It's a novel based on Excalibur." "Hasn't that already been done?" "It has," smiled Auto Mike, knowing something I didn't but was about to find out, "But I'm going to weave it around a story about buses." Ah, I thought, Auto Mike's completely and utterly mad. His uncle has a fleet of buses. "A fleet of buses?" "Well, three buses, actually, but one of them's a Routemaster. He won't let me clean his buses. They're worth a lot of money." Auto Mike kept asking me about my driving, so I asked him about his. "I don't drive. I get people to drive me around." "Isn't that a disadvantage when it comes to earning a living as a mobile car valeter?" "No. That's what being in business is all about." Auto Mike told me about his 'other' job, which is that of a car park attendent at a pub on Beverley Road. "I get paid ten pounds for doing that on Sundays," he said, proudly. Auto Mike showed me his shopping list of car cleaning products that he will be ordering from a company called Auto Glym. It was a very extensive list. He has a sliding scale of charges when it comes to valeting a car. If you drive a heap of junk, he will charge you accordingly. If, on the other hand, you drive an executive car, he'll push up the price. "30, 40 quid, summat like that." "You certainly seem to know what you're doing," I told Auto Mike. "Yes, yes I do. Lots of people tell me that." Lots of people tell Auto Mike that, of course, because he has the distinct look of a young man bordering on the certifiable. I like Auto Mike. I do hope I meet him again. I have his mobile number. I told him I would tell all my friends about him too. Then he got off the bus, stopping at the doors to engage the driver in a quick chat about bad driving in and around the new transport interchange.

3 comments:

bazza27 said...

I wonder if that's the same Mike who used to clean my car, and was also a good friend of benjamin from trouble at westbourne. He sounds worryingly familiar.

Kev Brown said...

Chance encounters can certainly be the most fun, satisfying and interesting of encounters!

Music Man said...

Only in Hull would you find a post-modern car valeter who can't drive and has no actual car valeting equipment. Good to hear that the new transport interchange has still kept a place for the 'nutter on the bus'. City Vision should consider giving grants to people like Auto Mike to travel on the buses as a 'designated nutter'. That's the sort of thing that would help raise the city's profile far more than St Stephens having a Nandos franchise in it.