Well it’s certainly not Prada but a tailor flies in from Rome specially to see CEO for regular fittings, shirts are shipped out to Italy to have his initials sewn onto the front pocket, and his laundry is collected by the Queen’s dry cleaning company each week (‘Jeeves’, if you were wondering). And so far, I haven’t had to chase down any unpublished manuscripts of the latest must-have book. Yet.
But similar to the moment where Miranda Priestly demands: ‘Have the brakes checked on my car’, this morning CEO walked in and announced that his Mercedes had a ‘run flat’ flat tyre and I needed to get it fixed. After calling the Mercedes workshop who wouldn’t come out unless he had a spare tyre in his boot, and the KwikFit team in Chelsea who wouldn’t drive out at all, I realised this might actually be the moment I have to get in the driver’s seat. With car keys in one hand and car park entry card in the other, I make my way down 10 floors of a multi-storey carpark and slide into the front seat of CEO’s Mercedes C63 AMG 507, being careful not to bash the door against his 1966 Bentley. Three floors up and I have to pause to ask a valet-attendant how I turn off the parking brake as the screen keeps flashing at me - apparently it’s a small lever to the right of the steering wheel to anyone sharing the same difficulty. I was worried I’d actually have to drive all the way to the garage with the brake on. I spend the journey lurching to abrupt halts thanks to the overly-sensitive brakes and arrive 30 minutes later at the garage with my heart in my throat and several attempts at whiplash. I practically tumble out of the car overjoyed that I’ve made it all in one piece - and myself.
The mechanics at the garage thought it pretty funny with me stuck behind the wheel… gasping in alarm when the car halted suddenly, when I tried to reverse in neutral and the engine revved dramatically, and when I couldn’t remember how to turn the engine on. This makes me sound like I’m useless at driving, but this car might as well be a space ship there are so many buttons! I couldn’t adjust the rear-view mirror without breaking it off as I couldn’t find the switches to adjust it or my seat. There is an engine on/off button but I never did work out why I had to turn it on and off several times to get the engine on, and there was a gear stick for automatic but the screen on the dashboard make it even more confusing. By some miracle I made it without any dents, accidents, or pedestrian massacre and I had to swear to the mechanic that the flat tyre and the huge chunks taken out of the other back tyre were absolutely not and under no circumstances my fault (they weren’t).
With tyres replaced and several mechanics appearing to have a gawp at the Mercedes AMG and its limited edition air vents on the hood (I can only dream that one day I will have a car that every one will want to stare at) and a very pricey bill, I clamber into the car hoping the journey back to Old Burlington Street car park will be less stressful, less jerky and maybe I might even get the hang of it. And I did! Driving it back was a dream, and the ride was absolutely LUSH. I am hooked, and CEO really should be careful entrusting me with his spare set of keys. I also leave the garage with a warning from the mechanics for CEO to be more careful and avoid kerbing his wheels in future. The route back is much more fun and around Hyde Park the road opens out into six lanes where you can really ‘give it the beans’ and test out the accelerator. As my previous employees used to call me, ‘Connie McRae’ is back in the game!
I spend a great deal of time parking the Merc back into a parking space - just so I can spend a bit extra time in the leather racer-style seats with hands wrapped around the suede steering wheel. Sadly I have to dash back to the office for a meeting with Mrs Assouline, and so play time is over. It isn’t until an hour later that I realise through all the excitement I have managed to leave my Blackberry on the front passenger seat, whilst I am stuck in a 3 hour meeting away from my desk - and my office line ringing off the hook an unusual amount. After work I head via the multi-storey again to retrieve the phone and move the car back into its rightful parking space beside the Bentley - another 3 minutes of joy. The brakes are certainly in working order - my neck can attest to that - although whether or not they still work after my attempts today we will find out next time.
the crazy happenings in my life