Hello Mortality

Life is always more fun when you are aware that it could end messily at any moment.


Take driving for instance. As I mention on the blurb, I drive a Micra. It is actually a three door Micra Celebration of some age and so basic I'm still surprised it came with four wheels. Central locking, ABS brakes and electric windows are just three of the things it does not feature. If the wind is from a south-west direction, water will flood the passenger footwell. It takes at least three goes to get it into reverse gear. One need never consult the speedometer because, believe me, you are very aware of how fast you are going. I was at a roundabout the other day and gradually became conscious that I was barely at eye level with the number plate of the car next to me. I love it.


By contrast, He Who Knows Everything's car is huge and you don't sit in it so much as become sucked in. I'm not insured on it but I've had to manoeuvre it around the drive a couple of times and despise it heartily. Where is the feeling? Where is the skill? It is no wonder people fall asleep while driving in such things. You wouldn't know you were in control of several tons of metal unless you stuck a post-it to the dashboard reminding you of the fact. And I can't see the bonnet.

Granted, if you spend your days zooming up and down the motorways then a big car that does a lot of the work for you would be great. If you are like me and only drive in towns or on the back roads where more than 40 or 50 mph is just not possible, they are dull.


Driving in Ireland is only recommended if you are confident your life insurance paperwork is all up to date. At a loss for something to do of a Saturday morning? Why not go for a drive and see how many cars in hedges you can find? My personal best is 5. Every radio news-broadcast over a bank holiday weekend will give you a score update of how many people have been killed on our roads. I believe the total this weekend was around 6. They didn't actually use the words "must try harder" but it was certainly implied.


Now, I am a very good driver. If you gloss over the reversing into wheel arches and driving into the side of the house because I forgot to stop (I would have got away with it too if the down pipe hadn't fallen off when HWKE took the car out the following morning) then you will notice I've no points on my licence and never had an accident that wasn't on my own property. Because I am a very good driver, I resent the fact that should I die in a flaming ball of wreckage, it will almost certainly not have been my own fault.


I was driving down the N11 once and was overtaken by some of the local boy racers. That would have been fine except that two of them overtook me on my right as normal. The other overtook me via the hard shoulder on my left. I didn't have a clue he was there and was checking my right wing mirror with a puzzled expression when he pulled out in front of me. This, just for a laugh.


When something like this happens and you are in what is essentially a tin can with wheels, there occurs a moment of clarity. The same thing happened when I was at the roundabout next to the girt black thing of indeterminate make.

If I was ever hit by one of them, I expect I would simply be killed. Mind you, this black one was so big it probably wouldn't hit me so much as roll over the top of me and wonder why there weren't any signs warning of speed bumps.


So enjoy the day and try to remind yourselves you aren't dead. Yet.

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