Rapping my knuckles impatiently against the steering wheel, I start to hate the sight of the car in front of me.
I’ve been staring at its rear for far too long, and quite frankly, it’s just getting annoying. Multiple internal ‘grrr!’s ensue about the very fact that the car exists, and is seemingly just getting in my way.
What was supposed to be a thirty minute drive home has turned into a journey of much more epic proportions, or so it feels. I feel like I could have reached the furthest flung corners of Abu Dhabi since I left the office, because for reasons currently unknown, the usual free-flowing gateway to home – a major local A road – has turned into a stagnant mass of four-wheeled, metallic bugs which my overdosed-on-caffeine bladder struggles to tolerate.
I am becoming increasingly more irritable. Expletives buzz round my head at a whirlwind pace:
“This f****** f*** of a f****** road is going to make me late for the gym”
“I’m so f****** desperate for a f****** p***”
My thermos of coffee has depreciated to an underwhelming tepid temperature due to the delay, and I had to turn the audio volume down right in the midst of my enthusiastic Sinitta sing-a-long because such an act no longer suited the tempo of the traffic.
“She told me a secret! I promised that I’d ——“
Oh hold up for a moment, Sinitta! I need to perform an exceptionally ominous brake right now.
Auto-pilot steps in and emphasises the unfortunate fact that this mind-numbing wait is not conducive to my evening plans. I recall the details of a sneaky back-road and perform an irritable ten-thousand-point turn in the middle of the road in order to turn back on myself to access it, indubitably confusing the heck out of Mr. Large Grey Nissan behind me.
As I find myself manoeuvring extremely slowly down a narrow country lane, I realise that I’m far from alone in conducting this master plan. I count the cars ahead and consequently stare at them for the best part of an hour, ultimately concluding how much my wondrous sneaky-beaky has failed. On the dashboard I watch the minutes roll by. One turns into ten almost as swiftly as it turns into twenty, and this is just turning into a massive joke.
And then I see it, beneath this bridge.
The motionless vehicles sprawled inordinately across the motorway lanes.
The emergency helicopter making a perfect landing.
The blue lights flashing manically, emergency services staff visibly working tirelessly to retain a resolute face and keep an horrendous situation in a state of somewhat check.
I see the stranger with their head in their hands sat helplessly by the side of a major English vein which, right now, lays dry, apart from the spread of personal items and mangled metal strewn across the tarmac for somebody to have to clear later. How the Hell can I take in the magnitude of the impact of what’s just happened to you? I can’t.
The rapping against the steering wheel stops. The internal expletives slapped into silence.
I suddenly feel incredibly privileged and incredibly stupid.
I’m grateful I’m still heading home…
Song of the Day: Deerhoof – I Will Spite Survive
Deerhoof are an understated San Francisco indie band who have been churning out classic tracks for over twenty years to an unobtrusive yet loyal audience. This is one of their newest songs, and it’s spine-chillingly powerful. Listen.