Thursday, 20 October 2016

My mornings.

I unlock the car, sit behind the wheel and wait for the windows to de-mist. I reverse sharply. The neighbours are usually getting in the family cars – I see the mums prepping for the school run. The kids squeal. Little red woollen bullets shoot down the pavements, book bags and lunch boxes trailing behind. 

(Taken in the passenger seat. Never touch your phone while driving, guys)

I drive up towards that roundabout, mentally steeling myself for the 60 limit approaching and reminding myself that the cars edging up behind me aren't trying to hurt me. Maybe just intimidate. They wanna feel big.

Buses pass me. The proper fancy Rambler coaches, and those faded creamy ones that house the eager school kids in their navy uniforms – they're going where I'd go, where I'd walk to. I never got the bus. The gold on their ties gleams through the windows as it's still new, it's only October and all the days are awaiting them. I miss that. And yet I really don't. I should visit again, soon. I should text my friends there. The ones in the staff room.

There are sometimes people running along this road. I would feel so vulnerable if that were me. Not because I could get hit; because people could see me.

There's a girl who always stands right on the edge of the curb, at the bus stop on the flyover, hands in pockets and expression frighteningly blank. I drive past the road my best friend used to live in, with her gang of siblings and messed up parents. I then pass another bus stop – so many buses and stops – packed out with excitable international students. One has a tartan blanket wrapped around her, today. Most likely a private joke – it's not that cold.

Lollipop ladies are a constant hazard, these days. I never considered them before, when I first started driving to work in the summer. It's a cute profession. A bright grinning yellow vision. I always try and smile at one when she stops me. Why are they always ladies, I wonder?

I'm coming up to the rough bit now. That road crammed with tacky one-off shops, where a car comes at you from every angle. I like it, weirdly. I always catch the horribly overweight man, no doubt not as old as he looks, sitting outside that dodgy cafe with a china cup he rests on a green recycling bin. I think the dog is his. That's attached to the bin, too. School kids pat it as they pass. The sun rests on his head briefly and then disappears into the deep wrinkles around his eyes.

It's always as I descend that insanely steep hill to the shopping centre that I am overwhelmed with comfort – interrupted by a brief flash of panic and a need to check I have my parking permit, which I always do. The comfort is born from the sunshine, often. Now it's Autumn I'm noticing that as I drive in the morning, the sun is in my eyes. Then as I drive home in the evening, the sun is in my eyes. The sun won't leave me alone. It's glaring at me, demanding attention. Making sure I make the most of it before it's long gone, hidden behind a mass of thick grey. I do see you, sun, don't worry. You're right at the front of my mind, and in my eyes you are welcome any time. If I'm lucky, sometimes I'll pass that car wash place and see you shimmering in bursts as they hose the vehicles, your light buzzing through the water.

I finally make my way up 6 floors of the car park; I have a spot now, on the 6th floor, as it's handiest for getting to work. My spot is a few bays along from the valet guys. The ones who laugh and chatter in a language I don't understand, and make sure they smile at me as I walk by. I wonder if they wait for me to come in, some days. I wonder what they think when I appear. What they think of my car – and the way I walk as I pass them.

Good morning, guys.
Good morning, world. 

Better find my keys. Don't forget the parking permit. Did I bring my lunch? 
Got 'em. That's in my back pocket, too. And yes, it's in the backpack with my laptop. I'll be getting that out on my lunch break, and sitting in the cafe writing. Looking so legit. Not taking a real break. Don't need to. 

These are the mornings, that become days. They can sometimes be a highlight. Sometimes a prelude. Often a distraction. Always...me. 

2 comments

  1. Not randomness....pure gold!! Is it all possible that the Lollipop lady has signalled ahead to the foreign speaking valets that you are on the way up and they should be on the alert to ensure you get into work safely? You appeared to be being followed by a string of fast moving cars and gold tied, snotty 6th formers who have gone over to the other side?? or am I taking that thought too far?

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    1. Why thank you, lovely Dave! I am 100% sold on your story - and perhaps the school kids are in fact witches and wizards and the lollipop ladies guide them into the magic world. Their long sticks with the luminous circles on the end are portals! Oooh...we should co-write this story.

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