This is a brief trepanning blog post, just to get my pent up fury out of the way. It’ll be packed with errors. I am writing it for medicinal reasons.
Having dropped off my son at school, I was walking home through the residential streets of my home town with no plans to meet the bumpers or bonnets of any Land Rover Discoveries, sporty or otherwise . About 100 yards from the school, which is in quiet, suburban area of small roads, houses and patches of woodland, there is a little T junction. It’s barely a T junction even, it is just a turning onto a residential street. When looking before crossing, you can’t see much of the road which cars may turn off from. There are trees in the way, plus, as it is just by a school and it was school run time for both drivers and pedestrians, oh and it is not a major road, and it’s near a park, you wouldn’t speed down it so fast that you’d take the turn into a residential street on the wrong side of the road. You just wouldn’t. That is, unless you drive a car with the registration CS52***.
I admit, I was on the phone talking about Soulwax with Michael Legge, but I did look before I crossed. I saw the ten metres or so of the road that is visible, saw nothing on it, and began to cross, as I did so, I moved the conversation from Soulwax to a prog band called Comedy of Errors. Just before I got to the other side, I saw a shiny bonnet and heard the sound of a car suddenly stopping very near me. I continued, perturbed at my proximity to death, slightly befuddled by it. In fact, I was cross enough that I thought it best to keep walking as it is a residential area near a school and was pre-watershed, and no one wants to start their Monday listening to a bespectacled man going ballistic with language (but if you do, why not listen to the Vitriola podcast now). At that point, the person driving decided to shout at me as if it was my fault. Now it might have been, but equally, the driver was on the wrong side of the road and, with the limited vision I had before when starting to cross, the driver was not in view on either of the residential roads near a school.
I did not take well to taking the blame for the failure of her manslaughter.
The driver continued to berate me. A friendly passer-by, also returning from the school, joined in attempting to explain that it was not necessarily this dawdling, prog yapping meat bag’s fault.
I explained that I could not see the car when crossing the road as she was not visible as I stepped out.
The driver said, “but I could see you!”
The driver had obviously forgotten that they were traveling in a car at speed and I was traveling at foot, probably at somewhere between 2 and 3 miles per hour. At the very, very least, the driver was traveling at 10 times my speed. Throughout the rest of their journey post botched assassination, the driver would see things long before me. The driver would see the bakery a good ten minutes before me, and the chemists, and hopefully the old man on a bicycle who delivers the free local newspaper. At this point, I should have said something clever involving Einstein and frames of reference and perception, but I was neither smart enough or calm enough, I am not Professor Brian Cox. If I was Professor Brian Cox, I wouldn’t be walking, I’d be in my gold plated sedan chair).
(And thank you to all who have voiced suspicion that I had priority anyway – “Think Highway Code rule 170 applies – you had priority and she should stop for you.” tweeted Niall Anderson. Here is that part of the Highway Code. In my insanity, I will now be carrying a copy of this about in case I see her car, and if I do, I will be placing it under her wipers for a read. I am not good at letting things go. I may even have “HIGHWAY CODE RULE 170” with an image of Dave Prowse’s fist tattooed on my forehead, so it’s the last thing a driver like this sees as they smash my bones and guts on their needlessly boxy, shiny death jalopy )
I suppose the point is, when driving near schools in residential areas in a really big car and taking corners on the wrong side of the road into residential streets, why not drive a bit slower CS52*** and also take account that a marked difference in speed may affect when someone walking perceives being bloodily thrown across the road as you slam into them.
(I have deleted the full number plate, but still pretty cross and will be looking out for them with a beady eye)
We have a load of new Book Shambles from Latitude Festival available – currently ones with Shappi Khorsandi, Luke Wright, Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillan, and a panel about David Bowie, art and magic. Coming up, a horror special with Reece Shearsmith…