The arrival of the driverless car can’t come quick enough. There are far too many drivers on the road that should never be allowed near any car, let alone inside a car. I don’t actually like most other drivers. There can be no greater joy than driving past a car parked along the highway with a flashing police car stationed behind it. The police car has special investigation equipment to know the history of the car and its driver. The driver in the car just has to wait in the knowledge the policeman will soon come out of their car and present a fine, or worse. The best of those cases are when the driver is asked to get out of the car and told he or she is not allowed to continue driving because of a lost license, levels of inebriation, methamphetamine use, unroadworthiness of the vehicle or heaven knows what else.
This happened to us many years ago when living in Holland. I was a hippy had a perm done, smoked bongs. Helvi did tie-dying and wore long skirts. Both of us listened to Carly Simon and were ardent admirer’s of the late Trotsky without knowing much about it. We converted a Kombi van in which we took trips to Paris. It eventually needed new tyres but were suitably lax in buying them in time. The police in Holland are sharp and pulled me over. They inspected the tyres and without further ado slashed one of them with a special knife. We bought four new tyres very promptly.
The Pro-Office remind calendar told us that last Saturday a yearly appointment with a specialist doctor was due in Liverpool. I felt confident enough to take the journey without plugging in our Tomtom GPS. We had done the trip several times before.
Liverpool is one of those chaotic cities that are so common in Australia. Residential homes, factories, commercial unidentifiable building all thrown about as if by a demented architect out on revenge. In between many vacant overgrown with weeds are allotments littered by abandoned trolley or empty baby prams. The inevitable yawning car yard appears in between all the chaos. The words ‘special’ or ‘closing down’ are strewn about like confetti at a drunken Russian wedding with the groom sprawled out on top of a plate of borscht. The Norwegian Edvart Munch’s The Scream pops up as well.
This visual assault is something we struggle with whenever or wherever we travel by car. The soothing voice of the GPS commentator a much needed anchor to keep me grounded within borders of acceptable sanity. It soothes me; ” turn right after 400 metres.” Or, “take the next second exit after the round-a-bout.” It is so becalming and reassuring.
However, as noted I had not put on the GPS. In a moment of inattention I had forgotten to take a turn to the left. A disastrous mistake. On Toll-ways, a mistake can have dire consequences. Helvi remained silent. She knows my limited boundaries in the area of remaining calm and collected. There were no signs of left turns anywhere. A buzzer in my car went off indication a toll charge had been collected. We finally managed to get off this Toll way and soon found the road to Liverpool again. Helvi took me to task and bluntly told me not to go anywhere without plugging in the Tomtom. “Why do you have one?”, she asked not unreasonably. Followed up by; ” why do you have it in the car?”
We still made it in time to the doctor and were out of his surgery within twenty minutes. “No worries,” Helvi smiled. To get back on harmonious levels, I made a point of sticking on the GPS and clicked on our ‘home’ address. It guided us back seamlessly. The soothing voice taking me into my previous conviviality. We stopped on the way home in a nice pub and shared a Napoli pizza. Helvi had an Italian Pinot Gris and I had a nice schooner of stout.
It all came good, but only just.