My children came home for the weekend, which was lovely. When he’s around, Rob is always keen to drive the car he shares with his sister. He feels it’s important to keep everything he learnt ‘fresh’ and not lose confidence. Between you and me, his sister has overtaken (excuse the pun) Robbie in the confidence stakes. I suppose that’s what happens when you have had one child coming home intermittently and the other has been at home all the time and whizzing from A to B on a daily basis. However, whilst Rob hasn't quite got the edge on Eleanor, he is one-hundred-per-cent hot on remembering his theory, whereas Eleanor is vague about the Highways Department’s need to paint “pretty” zig-zags on a road.
Yesterday Rob had an eye test appointment. Eleanor said she’d keep her brother company. I said I’d meet both kids afterwards and treat them to brunch in Sidcup (hello again, Sidcup).
‘Can you remember the way?’ I asked Rob.
‘Um, not sure. I’ll get Eleanor to direct me.’
‘No, don’t do that,’ I said quickly. Recent memories of my daughter relaying her own description of roads rather than road names had me experiencing a rush of anxiety. ‘Stick to using your sat-nav.’ Well you can’t say I didn’t warn him. So after the eye test, son and daughter jumped in their little car and off they set.
‘Which way to Sidcup?’ asked Rob edging out of the carpark.
‘Drive towards the funny ramp thing.’
‘Yes, there. Look…there. There. THERE!’
‘You mean turn left?’
The direction came too late and my son kerbed the car. ‘Now look what you made me do.’
‘You were driving too close to the pavement.’
‘Because you instructed me too late!’
‘You drive close to all the pavements.’ Getting the two kids in the car together is always potentially likely to end in a row. ‘You still drive like a learner,’ Eleanor complained, as Rob brought the car to a jerky standstill at a roundabout.
‘I most certainly do not,’ Rob huffed.
‘Your last bit of braking almost gave me whiplash.’
‘You do exaggerate. And what have you been doing to this car while I’ve been away? It’s not running properly.’
‘The car is fine. The problem is you over-revving it,’ Eleanor sniffed as her brother came off the clutch and, with engine whining, bunny-hopped into fast-moving traffic.
A woman waiting at the exit ahead observed a novice lurching forward and took the opportunity of pulling out on him. Emergency braking was immediately applied. Annoyed, my son took to the horn. I’d like to point out their car is a Citroen C1. It’s a tiddly vehicle with a feeble hooter. So when my son gave a couple of angry blasts, what he actually got was a Noddy-like peep peep.
The woman immediately buzzed the window down of her giant 4x4, stuck a middle finger up and, with her other hand, leant on the centre of her steering wheel. A noise issued forth not dissimilar to a ship’s foghorn.
‘Flamin’ cheek!’ Rob hissed.
‘She’s totally out of order,’ Eleanor agreed.
‘Take this!’ Rob growled leaning continuously on the Citroen’s horn. Peeeeeeeeeeep.
The woman responded by once again waving her middle finger about. Infuriated, Eleanor decided to go one better. She buzzed the passenger window down and stuck all her fingers out. The woman gave Eleanor a puzzled look and roared off in a cloud of exhaust. Rob attempted to zoom after her but got waylaid by mirror-signal-manoeuvre and clutch control. By the time he’d reached second gear I suspect the offending female motorist was a good mile away. Which reminds me.
Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a State Police Officer sees a car puttering along at twenty-two miles per hour. He thinks to himself, ‘This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!’ So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over. Approaching the car, he sees it contains five young teenagers. The driver, who had recently passed her driving test, was confused.
‘What’s the problem, officer? I was driving at the exact speed limit.’
The police officer sighed and explained that 22 was the route number, not the speed limit. Embarrassed, the young driver grinned and thanked the police officer for pointing out her error.
‘Before I let you go, ma’am, I have to ask…is everyone in this car okay? Everybody seems a bit shaken up and nobody has said a word.
‘Oh they’ll be all right in a minute, officer,’ said the young driver. ‘We just got off Route 119…’