Driving into the setting sun can be an experience.
|The sun is still fairly high in the sky as I set off from my home. I have spent the last few hours packing those final items that I could think of, but am sure that I forgot something, I always do...|
The car door closes with a slight "thunk", I turn the key in the ignition and away I go. Turning the first corner the squeeking wheel reminds me that I must get to the garage soon to get it seen to, but as I pull onto the dual carriageway all cares are gone. I am off to my place of rest, the place that in my mind is home, even though my address is other.
I head west towards the city, but I needn't enter it. A motorway encircles it's borders, closing it in on itself, allowing me to drive sweetly by to the contryside beyond.
It never works that way does it?
Three junctions along the traffic slows. The radio says that a lorry has run off the road ahead of me. I stop, and start, and stop. I age visibly as the traffic crawls along the blacktop. A woman in the car next to me is on the phone, looking worried, obviously wanting to go faster, to be anywhere bar where she is.
I reach the point where the truck was, just as it is being towed away. I actually wanted to see what the truck looked like before it got towed away. Morbid fascination is a trait in most people I guess.
The pace quickens and I drive faster now the vehicles are less tightly packed. The sun has dipped and is now just at that wrong angle, the glare of it's rays burn into my retinas and I find myself squinting just to see the car in front.
Roadworks are the bane of most drivers lives, especially around here. Signs saying "Roadworks three miles ahead, starting Jan 04, ending Dec 05". Two years! More signs, lane closed, 40MPH do this, do that. Some old man who is squinting and gripping the wheel with white knuckles pulls out in front of me. Brake and shout, doddering old fool!
The traffic slows again and we all crawl through the narrowed lanes. 12 miles of cones and cameras, 30,000 tickets issued boasts the sign, 30,000 suckers who have to pay £60 for going 5MPH too fast.
The works seem to never end, but after half an hour, my junction! I'm free again and driving away from the city, out into the big beyond. Heading West again.
The sun has now dipped into that orange stage, the world has taken on a strange colour, even the clouds seem brown, not their normal white or black. The cars start illuminating, those in front of me a blanket of red, those coming toward me an array of white and yellow, pink and blue (hallogens the posh gits).
Driving into the dusk my mind wanders to the conversation I had with my wife last night. I start passing junctions without realising, and all of a sudden I've gone further than I thought. As my mind returns to the present I worry. Where am I, how far have I come? A junction sign shows me that the one I want is next.
Turning from the motorway onto yet another road I find that the traffic is quiter, less people out here in the sticks, but it does mean the road winds, seemingly unnecessarily. You find yourself stuck behind a lorry, a van, a slow car. All you want now is to stop and be still. Three hours in the car is a long time. Your left leg is dead, pins and needles in your foot remind you to move it occasionally.
Finally, a sign with your destination on it. 15 miles til you reach your goal. As the distance diminishes you tire rapidly, seemingly in accordance with the distance left to travel. Lights are everywhere now and you reach the suburbs, the yellow fart of the streetlights is all encompassing. Growling at the woman on the other side of the road who doesn't dip her lights, you see the sign by the roadside saying "hotel". Finally you stop for the night.
Sleep envelops you like a glove. But your mind is still racing along at 70MPH, the lights flash in your minds eye as you streak past them, and when the morning comes the demon car will take you in it's maw once again.