Today started much like any other. The evilly sequenced set of alarms clattered into life. Each leaving sufficient time for me to return back into a dreamy doze before blowing the whistle to urge me over the top.
The morning evolution begins. Hunched simian gives way to an upright and scratching Australopithecus. A large stretch reveals something more hominid in form before a final flurry of blinks and groans allows my final almost human shape to emerge; pale and hairy, like those bug-eyed nocturnal animals the beloved Mr. Attenborough chases about in the dark.
Into the bathroom and the radio goes on. Someone, somewhere is moaning about something. Again. Shower on and in. Gurgle, gurgle, sploosh and we’re awake; or what passes for awake. Comatose with a smile – forced – weekday.
As in the days of yore, there is no charge in the electric toothbrush. As brushes go, they don’t brush very well. I scrape and drag a bit. That’ll do.
Pants, trousers, shirt, socks. Socks? Off black, dark black, scudding gray, formerly approximating to black, black with a stripe, black with a slightly thicker stripe, black with Homer Simpson, black with a ridge band a the top, black with a slightly wider ridged band at the top. That’s close enough, the last two will do as a pair.
Shoes on and it’s once a again an awful long way down to the laces. Cue that noise old men make when they get out a chair. Ergo, mmm… best not say it out loud.
The car keys are usually in one of 97 possible places. I find them in place 93. Which I take as a positive. The glass may only be 4 out of 97 parts full but some days that’s enough.
In car and radio on. Some so-called expert is explaining why someone, somewhere who is moaning about something should stop moaning while someone from a so-called pressure group guffaws in contempt to the annoyance of the presenter. I sneer at them all. No one notices.
The drive out to the motorway is more stop than start. This would seem to defy a few laws of physics, but that’s how it feels with the two left hand pedals getting more involved that the right hand side one. Lights, cameras and not much action. Weaving idiots and fat arsed cyclists before the open-road sanctuary of the motorway looms; the 10 seconds of accelerating joy ahead of the nose-to-tail trundle.
And we’re off and there goes Mansell. There stops Mansell. A bus overtaking a truck. There endeth the fun. After a couple of miles I sneak past the sleepy-tacho-trucks and stick the MP3 player on to lighten my mood. Yes indeed, it is a Pleasant Valley Sunday, you’re right, how rude of me not to notice. Pah.
But still, the road is quieter, I’m making progress and leaving more things behind me that there are in front of me. Actually, there is quite a lot, quite far behind me. I strain in the rear view mirror but it looks like everything has backed off behind me to quite a distance. I’m not going quickly but nothing is keeping pace. No idiots in BMW’s careering up my rear, no leather-cased bloodbags on bikes hurtling to their next accident. Nothing for almost a mile at least. Odd. Anyway, on with the journey, turn up the music, all the better for me to have the road to myself.
And then I see them. Blue lights. One, then two, maybe more behind those. With the rest of the traffic still far behind a phalanx of traffic cars was making its way up towards me. I turned down the music and turned round to check what I thought the mirror was telling me.
It was only then I saw the hand appear against the rear windscreen…