Designated Driver (with an MBE sticker on the bumper.)
It is emotional to be offered an award but I’ve been equally moved by your responses on facebook, in emails and here on my blog. Forgive me for not individually replying to each and every person who responded to my request foropinion. I hope you will accept my gratitude. So this is how it happened.On November 16th I received a letter
The Prime Minister has asked me to inform you, in strict confidence, that having accepted the advice of the Cabinet Secretary and the Main Honours Committee, he proposes to submit your name to The Queen” The recommendation is that her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year 2020 Honours List.
Before doing so, the Prime Minister would be glad to know that this would be agreeable to you. I should therefore be grateful if you would complete the enclosed form and send it to me by return of post, together with the ethnicity and disability background survey”
After consultation and deliberation I accepted and returned the “enclosed form” in mid December. Some have asked why I would deliberate about accepting as if it might be disrespectful to do so. But in respect of the award and for myself I gave the letter the consideration it deserved. I assume the letter above is no longer “strictly confidential” as the award was publicly announced in the national newspapers on 31st December.
That evening on New Year’s Eve I went to three parties. There are two things to note about the three parties. I was with people I like and secondly I did not drink a drop of alcohol. And in so much, and by my own design, I was the designated driver for The Journalist . And that’s about it really.
If this is my life then I am its designated driver and I accepted my MBE like it’s a golden bumper sticker . I’ll put it on the back window and remove the one that says “friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies” . I’m noteven in second gear yet. I pick up hitch hikers. I get it serviced regularly. I pay my insurance and tax.
And at night when I am on my own I drive to car parks and wheel spin “woohooooo” and tailspin until the back of the car hurtles in a circle while the front stays centre. This makes a giant halo of burning rubber. Then I stop the car, retract the roof, lay on my back and watch the giant smoke ring riseand expand into the night sky to circle the moon. It becomes a momentary corona and then evaporates leaving just stars.