DRIVING

 

Bus Stop

 

Three o’clock, Thursday afternoon, coming up for school run time. Harris was a good and experienced driver, he’d been on the busses fifteen years and he still enjoyed it. When you drive the same routes, day in day out, in both directions, you get to know the trouble spots, places where an indefinable something makes drivers misjudge distance or speed. On a hot day, by mid afternoon, drivers who are still vigilant at the hazard points sometimes start to relax a little on the ‘easy’ bits. Harris knew better than that, idiots are everywhere, and come in all shapes and sizes, he was driving properly, aware of everything to the horizon, back and front. There was not much, someone at the request stop a hundred yards ahead, two cars coming the other way, one well back behind him and an electric blue fiesta in the side road that made a T junction with the main road he was travelling on. There was no way of telling the Fiesta would not stop when it reached the junction. He managed to swing the bus out an extra four feet from the kerb and was almost stationary when it hit him, the little blue car had driven straight into the front nearside wing of a double-decker bus. Harris had not had a good day for many and varied reasons, there had been quite a lead up. Now it had gone from being a not very good day to being a bad week. There would be an investigation, forms would be filled, overtime would be lost. There would be all sorts of hassle. Still, Harris had been on the job long enough to know the drill. Other than exchanging details, you say nothing and wait for an inspector or a policeman. As he got out of the cab he was annoyed but calm. The other driver, female, had been blonde, and was again, features were painted on, and her voice had the discordant twang induced by city pollution, she neither looked, smelt nor sounded like a natural human being. She said, “Oooh, I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t see you.” That was when Harris first started to lose it, “You didn’t see me?” and then again, voice rising in volume and pitch as he completely lost it. “You didn’t see me?” Total incredulity and a profanity found their way into the third ejaculation of the phrase and Harris was turning a colour to match his bus. Gesturing towards the vehicle he loudly demonstrated the impossibility of the statement, “Lady, it’s fifteen foot tall, eight feet wide and forty foot long” He outlined the bus with his hands as he spoke, by now he was turning purple, “And its painted bright f***ing red, how can you tell me you didn’t see it?” He was almost shouting as he finished with a hopeless, downward sweep of his arms. “Oooh” she said, “I’m ever so sorry.” Luckily that was the moment the police car turned up and they took over.

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