On the cards

As someone who drives for a living, I must confess that the onset of lockdown filled me with glee. My initial thoughts were of working early Christmas mornings… The best time to be on the road… Not a soul around… No school run traffic, no commuters… This was going to be Christmas but with better weather and lighter mornings… I’d be King of the Road!

It became quickly apparent that this would not be the case… At certain times in the evening, I often have clear routes but now during the lockdown, the unholy trinity of Audis, BMWs and Mercs were out in force… Shooting junctions, ignoring red lights, driving erratically, engine thrashing, tyre screeching nobs turning suburbs into racetracks… Life felt like an accident waiting to happen.

I’d recently started using Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards. I’m not a fan per se of fortune telling but there’s a time and place for such things… I laid out the cards and the warning was crystal clear. A car accident was heading my way! The message came with advice to avoid road rage and take a measured response… I sat and thought about it… The cards had given me a heads up, so surely I could avoid a collision?

I wondered where I’d be most likely to crash and I thought of the white BMW 512 that is often at one of my pickup points. It’s driven by a halfwit who can’t navigate gaps and who used to blast his horn at me to move out of his way… He stopped that stunt after one of my passengers (a 6’2″ bro’ with a ‘fro) got out and questioned his mental capacity… But even though the tooting has stopped, he’s still managed to almost hit me twice as he tears off down the middle of the exit into a blind corner… Maybe I wouldn’t be 3rd time lucky? Maybe today, we’d hit head on… OR maybe he’d find his horn again and I’d road rage, screw social distancing, and hit him literally on the head…

Mr S, interrupted my thoughts “Are you planning on going to work this evening? You’re going to be late…”

“Yes, I’m going to work and no I’m not going to be late, I’m going to be on time instead of 5 minutes early as I need to thwart my time line and dodge that bloody BMW. I think I’m heading for a crash, I’m trying to miss it.”

15 minutes later, heading into work, I approach a mini roundabout, I’ve slowed down considerably as often people from the right seem to come out of nowhere at a rate of knots… I clear it with no other drivers appearing…

I’m heading into the next mini roundabout and I see the huge taxi… God dammit! He’s not seen me! He’s not gonna stop! Hand on horn, blaring my presence, I brace for impact… Brake pressed so hard to floor that I’m pushing myself back into the seat… I’m not stopping in time… I don’t have the speed to whizz to the right and around him and I’m at the wrong angle to go left and behind… The S.. L.. O.. W… M… O….. Stretched time… Waiting… Waiting… Waiting for the inevitable crunch… CRUNCH! 30+ years of driving and my first prang with another moving vehicle…

I get out of the car and the taxi driver follows suit. My body has flooded with adrenalin and I feel stupid because I can’t stop my hands from shaking out of control… I recall the words from my reading ‘take a measured response’.

The guy starts to talk, I can’t process what he’s saying… I raise my trembly hand… Shhh… Give me 2 minutes, let me breathe…

Witnesses appear giving me contact numbers… Asking if I’m OK? Yes, I’m OK!

Taxi driver is flustered, upset, admitting 100% liability, talking 19 to the dozen… I tell him I’m fine, the car’s a banger anyway and I’m not upset about chunks of metal but my more pressing issue is that I’ve got to get to work to collect people finishing a 12hr shift. I ask him if he can help me with the immediate problem and we can talk cars later when we’re both chilled out.

His tank is unscathed, we move my car and gather the chunks. He drives me to work and offers to ferry me about until my car is fixed. I tell him that’s not necessary as I’m 99% sure my boss will let me borrow the Galaxy.

So, the Galaxy is loaned, folks are picked up almost on time but not complaining I’m late as they’re surprised I came at all after the crash… Taxi driver picks up my keys, collects my car, gets it fixed and returned to my doorstep in just over 36 hrs.

I thank my lucky stars as I’ve now had a crash and the sense of impending doom has left… I laugh a little as who better to get hit by during lockdown than a taxi driver with a mechanic friend who owns a garage… What would most probably have involved upheaval and inconvenience, smoothed my workload and gave me an extra couple of hours in bed… Yup! Life was good and pretty charmed…

Two days after the crash and day one of what turned out to be a 3 day mild whiplash back of the head band of ache, I got another kind of bump… Something appeared… Oh lord! I’ve just cleared a car crash to head into a potential train wreck?

Again, I thought back to what the cards had advised… Take a measured response… I took the advice onboard and found myself on a pleasant journey…

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