O beware, all ye travellers of the A417: the driver of the silver Matiz has changed her working hours.
I’ve long known that, should I be unlucky enough to be driving to or from work half an hour later than usual, at some point in the journey I’ll be caught behind the driver of the silver Matiz. As she potters along determinedly at 35mph regardless of what the road signs say (thus breaking the speed limit in one of two ways at all times), it’s inevitable that somewhere between Reading and Didcot I’ll join the tail end of a queue with a squat, silver box glimmering ominously in the distance. I discovered quite early on, too, that three-quarters of her journey coincide with mine, and that unless I want to spend my commute either impotent with fury, three feet behind her, or executing wild, swinging overtakes out of sheer desperation, I need to be off the road by the time she is on it.
Well, this morning at 7.40am I was zipping over the hills under a wide, sunny sky, the heater on my feet and something like unthoughtful happiness in my heart, when I came to the end of a long, trundling queue. A quick look at the clock told me I could not be in the Matiz danger zone, but no: squinting in the distance I saw that the leader of the pack looked dolefully familiar, twinkling insouciantly in the sun as she jogged along outpaced by passing badgers. Dear reader, contain your shock: it was the Matiz. At 7.40!
Now her schedule is unpredictable, clearly anything can happen and no one is safe. To all unwary travellers: choose your departure times with care, and keep a weather eye out for a silver box on the horizon.
PS – She’s not old, by the way, so there’s really no excuse. I’ve caught a good look at her when I’ve been desperate enough to overtake. I’ve considered going to see where she lives, just out of curiosity, but thought it best to avoid actual stalking. And by the time she turns off the main road she’s invariably made me late, so I just accelerate pointedly towards home in what I hope is a reproving manner.