It was the moment I’d been waiting for ever since I learnt to drive.
First, the sound of crunching metal; then, the sight of a big HGV disappearing into the distance, with a “so long, sucker” expression writ large in its tail-lights.
I didn’t even have a chance to read the “well driven ?” sign on the back.
A brief inspection told the grim truth. A brush with one of the big beasts of the road had pushed the wing into the tyre, which in turn had put the tyre into retirement. It was Wednesbury on a Tuesday night, and the large lorries were hurrying off to the M6, making up valuable seconds before the approaching bottleneck.
Now, if I was inclined to be charitable, it’s quite possible that he didn’t even know he’d hit me.
What felt like a sickening crunch to me was probably no more than a pin-prick to him.
Such is our shared experience on the road. And the leviathans that drive alongside us, like the lilies of the field, toil not, and really don’t have to give a damn.
Just as most of them don’t appear to be over-concerned about the 50mph speed limit through the roadworks on the baneful M6, charging past as I dutifully stay within limit.
Anyway, if the said lorry driver is sleeping soundly in his cab somewhere tonight, then the spirits of those of us he has clobbered will be there to trouble his conscience.
Like the ghosts of King Richard’s victims, we will sit heavy on his soul tonight. One holds up a damaged wing mirror, another points a bony finger to his dented door, a third carries a punctured tyre.
All of us ghastly pale, brandishing insurance claims forms in triplicate, and stretching back, yea, even to the Aston Expressway. I was thy victim in a lane in Dorridge, says one, and you wrote off my big end in the pouring rain. Think on me tomorrow on the North Circular, despair and get lost.
Anyway, I’m better for getting this off my chest. Thanks for listening, and mind how you go.
* Dr Chris Upton of Newman University has purchased a voodoo lorry and a handful of pins