WHITE TRASH / CAR CRASH
"But there's a van in front of me, going slow like vans always do when you don't want them to. Pull out to the outside lane. Bastard speeds up -- overtaken is not his ego-choice. Arsehole probably reads The Sun. My willy is bigger than his willy eventually."
By George Berger
COPYRIGHT © 2003, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
London. M25 Orbital. The worst road in England, though users of the M6 would disagree, and those of the Paris Orbital would be in their rights to simply smirk.
Sun beats down, hit the A3. I'm late, I may still be a bit pissed from the night before and I'm driving like the sort of driver I hate. This is a big job, the biggest yet, and I've managed to screw up the most basic of courtesies -- being on time. Stresssss, hissing like a snake. Hissing and taking the piss.
I'm overtaking where I normally wouldn't, perhaps where I shouldn't. But I'm in charge -- I've always been a good driver and nothing goes wrong. Anyway, now I'm on the A3 and the worst is behind me. But there's a van in front of me, going slow like vans always do when you don't want them to. Pull out to the outside lane. Bastard speeds up -- overtaken is not his ego-choice. Arsehole probably reads The Sun.
My willy is bigger than his willy eventually (so what does that make me?). But as I'm finally pulling away from him, I miss the turning -- 45 minutes of driving like a tosser to make up lost time and then I'm catapulted five whole miles down the road before there's a chance to turn around. The best laid plans of mice and men.
Finally turn around. Zoom zoom back to the turning. Don't see it till the last minute. Split second decision. Of course I can make it -- I'm never wrong about these things…never have been. Till this time.
It's not serious. Two wheels smash against the dividing kerb but the car bounces back to a four on the floor scenario. I'm shaken but not stirred. The moment itself flies by too quick to register thought, so the main thought is already a backwards glance: got away with it. Probably felt worse than it looked.
A mile down the road the brakes fail at 50 mph, which is when the stress really starts to kick in. Then the steering half-goes. Manage to get the car off the road, fail to make an explanatory phone-call and start to feel a dull ache in my side. Start feeling a heady mix of complete exhaustion and complete stress. Start the car, it seems to be working ok again. Decide to risk the final mile to the job. Do the meeting in what in hindsight was relatively deep shock -- don't mention the journey, they didn't ask.
Finally give up the ghost after the brakes fail for the third time about 50 mph on the way home. Phone a mechanic and stare at the scenery for an hour or two till he arrives.
No one died. No serious injuries. Phrases we hear on the news at just about the time our attention skips off to a different place. Because it's not enough these days. The dull ache was only bruised ribs -- sorry to disappoint. The credit card was more bruised when the mechanic turned up. And I got the job. I love a happy ending.
George Berger is a freelance writer, with punk rock dna. He has written for Sounds, Melody Maker and Amnesty International among others. He has also written 3 books, with one published thus far: Dance Before the Storm: the Official Story of The Levellers (Virgin Books 1999). George edits abisti. He lives where the mood takes him and funds allow.