I don’t like mornings.
I don’t like Mondays.
Any distraction to the jaded humdrum helloo to the week is welcome (obviously that’s a figure of speech – a distraction in the form of say, shutting your willy in the fridge door whilst trying to extricate the milk and simultaneously disentangle your bath towel from the ironing board would be very unwelcome. But that’s a different story).
Around 10.30 then, the earth shattering kerrraaaang and accompaniment of screeches and breaking glass was greeted with general glee in our office. The impact, of whatever the hell it was, was substantial enough to make the building tremble for a moment…..ah, be still my beating heart, what fun.
People raced to the windows and then to the doors. A car was slowly revolving, on it’s roof, in the middle of the road three floors down. It looked grotesque and vaguely…comical, only in as much as that’s not how you normally observe cars, oddly…naked.
Outside a crowd had already gathered. The car had stopped spinning and lay morosely, glassless, at the end of a 20 yard swathe of red and black detritus and deep scratches in the tarmac. Already you could hear sirens in the distance. The police would arrive first and hopefully an ambulance shortly thereafter.
Despite the obvious draw of the car (wreckage has a particular magnetism?), the eyes were inexorably drawn to a frail figure sitting on the kerb. An old man, surely a lucky bystander looking dishevelled but very middle class, who sat wanly by the side of the road cupping his besilvered head in liver spotted hands.
He was surrounded by a whole host of would be first aiders offering various and conflicting advice….no doubt he wanted a cup of tea. In English middle class folk lore a cup of tea is the panacea, the cure all, one can grow a new limb after just a few sips of hot sweet tea.
I was wondering what maniac, what boy racer, what act of stupidity had nearly taken this elderly man’s life so early on a Monday morning. Whether he was on his way home with the news paper or on his way to the Post Office to collect his pension. I was also curious as to why no none of the bystanders were particularly interested in the car, after all if there’s one thing more magnetic than fresh wreckage, it is fresh carnage.
And then a worker from an adjacent office said “silly old sod”, not to me, but to himself.
It transpires that this elderly behemoth had been in the process of parking his car by the corner. He needs sticks to walk. Without switching off his engine he reached across to the passenger seat to get his sticks, opened his door and went to get out of the car. Apparently he slipped and his leg shot out in reaction and jammed full square on the accelerator pedal….
One eye witness likened it to the start of a Grand Prix. The car shot out into the road with a squeal of tyres and accelerated madly – until it made contact with a parked car. The manic pensioner and the parked car met three quarters on flipping the moving car into the air perfectly to land on it’s roof and slide a further 20 yards. The parked car, which I only now noticed, was a total utter wreck crushed at the front and shunted violently backwards into a tree.
The police did arrive first as is their wont. And then an ambulance, and a fire engine and eventually a tow truck.
The car was salvaged, and so was the little old man. He must have sat by on the kerb for some twenty minutes waiting for the ambulance whilst being gently questioned by the police officers. In all that while he didn’t utter a sound and he looked utterly, utterly defeated.
He looked so pitiful when finally they loaded him on to the ambulance, and I sat on the low wall outside the office smoking a cigarette….and thinking just as well, because otherwise I would have beaten him to death with his own sticks.
For demolishing my car.