There is a moment in the traditional romantic comedy where the hapless, gormless (but kindhearted) True Love type (Played by Hugh Grant, or – in this case – Me) has to get to the airport before his True Love leaves forever with the Bastard.
My life has, over the last few months, been many different types of movie. From romantic tragedy through Gillanesque surreality though to the type of creepy horror flick where the ex- just can’t let go. For about half a week I was having sane, rational, non-movie type days where my sanity began to reassert itself. Due to LoneCat having come down with EvilNastyBug which causes her to stop eating (Incidentally, why is it that she gets the viruses and bugs where you waste away into nothing? She’s thin already. Life isn’t fair) we have run out of Potatoes (Mashed potatoes, clear soup and toast being the only things she can eat at the moment. I thought the Detox diet was dull, but this one takes (away) the biscuit. So, I went shopping and grabbed the last packet of potatoes in Bedford (Well, Iceland) and various instances within the class clear soup. Then, like a good little commuter lemming, read my Guardian until the bus arrived and then spent the hour on the bus reading usenet and writing the Sapphire thing that will either be a short story or the first chapter of Ceavern depending on how long it takes them to get to the plot.
Now, my bus is due to get into Hitchin from Bedford at 19:35, but an arrangement with my usual bus-driver means he tends to get in as close to 18:30 as we can, given that my bus to Letchworth is due to leave Hitchin at 19:35 on the dot, and whilst it’s normally late this state of affairs will only continue as long as I don’t ever rely upon it. Today we missed that target and I was able to theatrically run down the street in the rain as my last bus pulled away. My inner thespian rejoiced at the sheer drama of it all, and my outer good little commuter lemming wandered over to the ATM to get cash for the taxi. At this point, the good little commuter lemming decided his role in this was over, and the new dramatical me who was running my brain hailed a taxi and asked to be taken to ”$myRoad, on the Jackmans’ Estate”. “That’s on the new bit, isn’t it?” “So they tell me” (And they do. Every time).
The taxi driver was a London Taxi driver. His taxi was a London cab, still with the London Transport notices inside. And, as London Cab Drivers do, he regaled me on the drive down with why I shouldn’t be commuting to Bedford (He suggested a Moped, which may become a later entry), and the state of the world, then we fell into silence before he asked “So do we go though the Estate?”
“No” I said, because you don’t, usually. That is, most taxi drivers take “Go though the estate” as meaning this way, whereas we actually go that way and come into the estate though a roundabout off the longabout (Which is like a roundabout but… yeah). I explained this. “Well you could have facking told me! I dunno, I said the old Creamery, but didn’t even think about it, could have saved you a couple of quid if I just drop you on the embankment” (There is a small path near the park near my house to the main road. I tend to direct taxis the long way around because otherwise… ah, you’ll see) “By that long central reservation,” (The taxi driver continued. You know that bit in the Romantic Comedy I mentioned earlier? Okay, well, the Hapless Writer hails a taxi and does the ‘Follow that cab to the Airport!’ bit).
“Not that I know why they put that reservation into it, they say it was to prevent accidents but…” (We speed around a roundabout that would take us into the estate if we were going the wrong way. We aren’t) ”… I don’t remember any facking accidents before they put it in! I mean, I’m not the world’s greatest driver, but when I was learning to drive fifty-odd years ago…” (We pull onto the longabout) ”… my instructor told me (Bloke up in Newcastle, great he was, if you were to found driving school you’d want him teaching it) that driving is 90% common sense and 10% driving sense. Now everyone’s got common sense” (I’d have disagreed with him at that point, but a) I couldn’t get a word in edgeways, and b) I was attempting to point out, in my hapless, romcom gormless Englishman type way, that we were about to miss my turning) ” but no bugger’s got the other 10% anymore. I mean, they keep telling me the new test is harder” (I’d have agreed, or something, but we were just passing my roundabout at this point) “but if you were to take the first 100 people coming around that bend” (That I’d have preferred we go down) “98 of them wouldn’t have a facking clue, but I mean why would you put this central reservation in place? You couldn’t crash on this road, nobody’s that stupid!” (He paused, long enough to register I was objecting, and continued) “Okay, yes, most buggers are that stupid, most of them don’t have a facking clue, not a facking clue. Where do you want to be dropped off?” We had, by this point, entered the even newer estate near the A1M entrance.
“Anywhere here’s fine”
“Okay, I’ll drop you off and turn around. Hey look, it’s even called ‘The Old Creamery’, I never knew that was here, never knew. You’re going to cut though the hedge?”
I agreed that yes, cutting though the hedge was exactly what I was going to do. I paid him his money (A good 20% shorter than he would have got had he actually taken me to my house) and got out of the cab. I walked down the road until I was sure he’d turned back, then walked back the way we had come, cutting though the hedge a few hundred yards from where we parked. I arrived home, muddy, wet, with a slightly tattered plastic bag of potatoes and soup, about five minutes after I’d have arrived had I actually caught the facking bus. Just after the plane had left, I suppose.