A pleasant Sunday morning in suburbia


All I wanted was a cup of coffee.

OK, I could have made one, I have a Nespresso machine, purchased after watching an inspiring George Clooney advertisement (well, my wife bought it) but I was after something with a little more oomph!

We have a small shopping centre just up the road about a kilometer and I thought, what’s five minutes and a short drive against a cup of hot, steaming, delicious to the last drop, coffee?

That’s where any semblance of sanity ends.

I walked out the back door, and forgot the car keys, so I had to go back in.  The door opens and the cat gets out.  Not so bad you think, but no, after three road kills, the cat getting out is a major catastrophe (pardon the pun).

Ten minutes later, cornered like a rat in a trap, he is back inside, I have the keys, and out in the car.  It’s a hot day, and the air conditioning isn’t working.  Damn.  It’s like 45 degrees Celsius in the car.

This is the time to give up and go back inside.  The omens are telling!

I don’t.

Our driveway is up a slight hill and usually we back the cars up so it’s easier to drive out onto the street.  We live in a corner house, and whilst it is not a busy intersection, it has been known for cars to treat it like the third chicane of a grand prix.  Late at night cars have rolled trying to make that tight corner.

I’m reversing off the driveway, too lazy the previous day to back it up, and you guessed it, Enzo Ferrari’s brother is making heavy weather in the third chicane and takes the corner wide, sliding across to the other side of the street, a) because he’s going too fast, and b) because he just saw me backing out of my driveway.

I’m having a heart attack and waiting for the bang, and he’s rapidly accelerating, smoke pouring from streaming tyres, and engine roaring in first or second as the revs pass 9000 and are redlining.

Disaster averted.  One speed junkie and daredevil happy, one old man shaken to the core.

So far I’ve travelled 10 metres.

On the radio the station is playing the James Bond theme from ‘You Only Live Twice’.

Apt, very apt.

I am now very sedately driving to the shopping centre, the road following a wide curve.  Nothing can go wrong here, until I reach the T intersection.  I stop like I do every time, and look.  No cars from the left, and one opposite me, turning into my street.

I start to turn.  The car opposite decides to do a U Turn, and I slam the foot on the brakes.  The driver of the other car is oblivious to me, happily chatting on her mobile phone.  Didn’t stop, didn’t look, didn’t care.

My heart rate is now 170 over 122, and perhaps I should be clinically dead.

Coffee is the last thing I need.

But I persevere.  How much worse can it get?

The shopping centre is not far, up to the roundabout and a right turn into the shopping centre car part.  Usually there are plenty of parking spots, today there a none.  I drive down one of the lanes, and nearly get hit but a reversing driver.  Again, not looking, or perhaps distracted by four children in the back seat.

Or the very, very loud music coming from the car.

I thought at first it was the pounding of my headache, brought on by high blood pressure.

I back up the car a) top give the driver more room to reverse out, and b) so I could turn into the spot when he vacates it.

More fool me.  The car backs out, another driver swoops in and takes the spot.

I get out to remonstrate, but he’s three feet wide and seven feet tall with a scarred face and tattoos on both arms.  Time to move on.

Yes, there’s nothing like a tall hot steaming cup of coffee on a pleasant Sunday morning.

In hell!

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