The road to Hell is paved with good intentions

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Got up early in the expectation of finding a foot of snow on the roads and transport chaos: in fact there was nothing of the sort, so I went back to bed again. Hurrah!

The morning commute has so far turned out to be pretty painless (I may yet regret writing that, of course, but I'll take the risk today). It generally takes about half an hour, which is a pleasantly short and civilized length of time, and the motorways are mostly fast and clear. Getting home is more difficult, but still better than being stuck on a packed commuter train.

I'm enjoying the comparative lack of stress, but unfortunately yesterday morning I fear I added to someone else's stress while driving up the M40. I spotted that the car in the middle lane I was following had a flat rear tyre – it bulged out on both sides at the bottom like a cartoon tyre.

It was a fancy black BMW, or some other type of large car (I don't notice these things, much to the continual distress of Beloved Other Half, who does) so I expected to see a middle-aged businessman at the wheel when I accelerated to run beside it. Instead there was a youngish blonde woman daydreaming, whose head snapped up to look at me as I hovered there in the fast lane beside her.

I jabbed my finger at her rear wheel and drove on. She slowed, and I thought she was going to pull over to inspect the wheel.

Not so. In my rear view mirror I saw her drop into the slow lane and match her pace to a lorry rolling along sedately ahead of her. It was obvious what had happened.

She'd evidently seen me gesticulating, failed to understand what I was pointing at (and really, who notices a rear-wheel puncture while they're driving?) and thought I was some road-rage thug berating her for cruising along the middle lane and forcing me out to overtake her. So she'd retired, shaken, to the relative safety of the slow lane.

Presumably she'll spot the flat tyre eventually. But until then, she's had her morning ruined and doubtless thinks she's been involved in an unpleasant incident with an abusive driver.

Great.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.