I thought my number was up today. I was driving to work along a very familiar road, one that was once a broad, easy to negotiate lane through one the most deprived areas of Manchester that takes me past the magnificent St Francis Monastery that is in the process of rebirth.
I say ‘once’ because the city council, in its wisdom, has recently installed traffic calmers. That’s speed bumps to thee and me, plus bits of pavement sticking out either side to narrow the road and making it just about negotiable for two cars travelling in opposite directions.
But the bumps aren’t the road-wide sort. They’re the individual lane jobbies, the ones that if you get your aim right your car can straddle for minimum discomfort, which is what drivers do, of course, me included. The point is, you can only do so if there isn’t another car coming the other way where the road narrows.
This morning there was a car was coming the other way and I was prepared to take the bump instead of the straddle when it suddenly pulled out to avoid the lump in the road, heading straight at me.
How we missed each other I don’t know. Or rather how I avoided him, because it was a him of course, and an oblivious him to boot as he seemed to be concentrating more on the mobile clamped to his ear while precariously steering at speed with one hand.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the traffic calming, nuisance that it is, but the idiot trying to work his mobbie while driving. I thought this was illegal, at least unless hands-free, but it seems this is yet another piece of legislation that is seldom imposed judging by the number of people you see every day chatting away as they motor.
I can understand the temptation. The times I’ve been tootling along when my mobbie starts to ring and I ignore it like a good citizen. Then the 121 alert rings every few minutes to tell me what I already know — I’ve missed a call. Next you begin to wonder if the call is important, pull in and find the message is not important at all.
Well that used to be the case. Last week I got one of those Blue Tooth earpiece thingies and what a liberating experience! I press the button behind my ear and I can have that unimportant conversation first time round. It also lets me have more productive discussions and suddenly that hour to 90 minutes driving downtime a day feels worthwhile.
I know I have had things to say about this legislation, but I have now found it quite releasing. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow then you’ll know I’ve tested the airbags and how wrong I was.