Thursday, May 8, 2008
The Slowest Learner Moped Driver in the West Midlands...
Tonight, I encountered a strange creature.
I was running late - something that happens to me with surprising frequency, despite my best attempts to avoid it - so I needed to get to my friend's house in ten minutes flat, or else risk missing the film we were supposed to be seeing. Normally, I can do this easily, traffic lights pending. Tonight, however - as is so often the way of things when you're in a hurry - every light was a red one, making my progress frustratingly slow.
Just when I was starting to wonder if I would ever get there, I encountered a strange creature, as it pulled out cautiously in front of me. It appeared to be too large for its mode of transport; wobbling precariously atop a bright red moped. With a comically big and shiny helmet, the picture was magnificently completed by the gaudy flowers painted on the sides of the moped and a large 'L' plate blowing slightly in the breeze at the back.
I'm not sure what was the most amusing - the extraordinary flash of be-thonged bum cleavage heaving over the top of the driver's too-small jeans, or the fact that she appeared to be incapable of going any faster than 20mph.
At first this too-slow vehicle in front of me was a source of annoyance. But, after a few minutes, I found myself fascinated by the sheer effort this creature had to exert simply to stay upright on her mode of transport. As we approached each hill, I was rooting for the driver: "Come on, you can do it!"
When she managed 25mph on one section I was triumphant on her behalf; when she freewheeled down a long hill and hit 28mph, I was practically euphoric.
I never thought that being stuck behind the Slowest Learner Moped Driver in the West Midlands could turn out to be such a life-affirming experience. But when she finally turned off the road, I found myself strangely deflated.
I hope that, somewhere, that wobbly, overly-cautious owner of the splendidly be-flowered two-wheeler continues her journey towards 30pmh - and that, one day, she will truly discover the joys of attempting speeds beyond her wildest dreams.
"One day, my friend," she will say, patting the shiny red paint of her beloved scooter in the growing dusk of the evening, the look of a wild deamer in her eyes, "one day we'll hit 35mph - hell, 42mph even! One day - maybe not so long from now - we'll push as hard as we can until we reach the Holy Grail of speed - yes, the National Speed Limit will one day be ours and ours alone!"
As for the film, I didn't get to see it after all. But that's another story...