Monday, 10 March 2014

All a bit pedestrian

     About a week before I spectacularly Lost The Fucking Plot, I had an unwelcome experience when picking The Boy up from school. This was an unusual event in any case – for the first five years of his life I’d been working long days, seven days a week, so I didn’t really do the school run, or birthday parties, and things like that.

     I waited in the playground for his teacher to call his name so he could come out. And waited. And waited. The rest of the class were reunited with their parents and left. Finally, the teacher said to me ‘Can I help?’ I replied ‘Yes, I’m here to pick up The Boy.’ (I did say his name, don’t worry, I wasn’t that distant a parent in those days). ‘Oh. Sorry, who are you?’ She asked. There was a brief pause as my heart shattered into a million tiny fragments of guilt and remorse, then I managed to pull myself together and say ‘I’m his mother.’

     Another brief pause now, as I gulp at the memory.

     Obviously, things are very different now that I don’t work. I’ve done the school run for the last four years and working it out, I’ll be doing it for at least five years into the future. The Blondies go to schools that are a mile away from our house, so I walk four miles a day, every weekday. I don’t drive, you see, and in any case, it’s good exercise and it gives me time to think about stuff.

     But there is one thing you very quickly realise when you are a pedestrian, and that is that you are SCUM. The lowest of the low. Unworthy of consideration, generosity, and acknowledgement. We all know about drivers vs cyclists and how easily that debate quickly descends into stripped to the waist fist waving in rush hour. Well, I’m here to tell you, that when your mode of transport is nothing more than your feet, WE FUCKING HATE EVERYONE ELSE WE ENCOUNTER WHO USES WHEELS.

     Seriously. I mean it. Cars, lorries, buses, tractors, bikes, scooters, milk floats and pushchairs. All of you. You are all massive fuckers. Where to begin… hmm, where do I even start?

     Let’s go with pushchairs. I relied heavily on the pushchair I had with The Blondies. It was an absolute TANK of a threewheeler and I took it everywhere. But I appreciated that it was a massive, unwieldy thing, and so I took care to keep in to the side of pavements, to check for people around me, to let others overtake. I didn’t take it into school when I was dropping The Boy off. Little things like that. So why the buggery fuck do other parents not do that? If I had a pound for every time my ankles have been clipped, or my shins rammed, or a pushchair has been swung round into my stomach, I wouldn’t be typing this now. No, I would be lying on a beach in the Seychelles, with Rafa Nadal rubbing suntan lotion into my… shoulders? Yes, shoulders. No, lower. Lower... Hmmm. Rafa… Vamos indeed…

     And scooters. Fucking scooters. Those sodding things should come with a bloody great klaxon to warn you that some little shit child is about to smash into the back of your toddler and then sail onwards, their parent jogging to keep up, and seemingly too out of breath to notice that you’re trying to fix the face of your daughter into something you recognise after she was sent flying. The Blondies have scooters. They use them. But they weren’t allowed to use them on the pavements until they’d learnt to control them properly. It’s not that fecking hard, parents. And don’t even get me arsing started about the bastards who let their kids scoot in and out of the school grounds at the beginning and end of the school day. THERE ARE FUCKING SIGNS UP ASKING YOU NOT TO DO THAT BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF CHILDREN AROUND YOU TWATS.

     Bikes. I’m glad a lot of people cycle. It’s much better than driving. And the majority of cyclists seem like decent, honourable people. But some of them are not, and I notice this and it makes me get The Rage. Like the time a teenage boy rode straight into the tank/pushchair (bloody good job it was such a behemoth, or he would have landed on The Girl), picked himself up, shrugged, and rode off. ON THE FUCKING PAVEMENT, NEXT TO A FUCKING CYCLE LANE. Or the arseholes who think that a red light means, yep, you go right ahead matey, sail through that pedestrian crossing, the rules of the road apply only to the drivers you’re overtaking. Or the wankers who ride silently behind you on pavements and zip past with no warning ‘TING’ of a bell or an ‘Excuse me!’, missing The Blondies by millimetres. Or the tossing teenagers who ride three abreast on a buggering pavement and give ME dirty looks for dragging my children out of their way.

     But really, it’s drivers. Fucking car drivers. Oh, yes, you are so important. So very fucking important, aren’t you? It’s far more important that you shave those precious three seconds off your drive to the shop for a pint of milk, instead of slowing down in a 20mph residential area, isn’t it? And of course, red lights at junctions are just for show, aren’t they? Nothing to do with allowing pedestrians to safely cross a major A road. Nope, you’re fine. You keep the flow of traffic moving, you utter bellend. Go on, we’ll wait another five minutes in the rain, waiting for the lights to change again, and hope that this time we’ll encounter a driver that I don’t have to mouth ‘TWATTWATTWATTWATTWATTWAT’ at as they pass us.

      And when you arrive at your destination, don’t worry about the pretty road decorations. Those double yellow lines mean nothing, nothing. They don’t put them in places where there are lots of children for any reason. They’re definitely not there so that people can safely see if there is oncoming traffic – oh no, wait, nobody can see anything,  because outside a certain private school there is a phalanx of thirty black Range Rovers, parked nose to tail on either side of the road, as close as possible to the school entrance so that their precious teenage girls need not walk more than twenty feet to get collected by their parents. And shit it, if there’s no room on the road, just mount the pavement. Who cares if it means that people have to walk on the road to get past? We don’t mind. You. YOU are important. And arse it all to hell, if you manage to park half on, half off the road/pavement, I don’t mind if you open your car door just as I pass you, so it swings into my leg and leaves me bloody and bruised. I get it. I totally get it. You are paramount in this. Those BIG yellow signs saying ‘School entrance. No parking at any time’? They don’t mean YOU, of course they don’t. And when you drive off, I don’t mind if you cut a corner and drive on the pavement! It’s probably my fault for being there in the first place. How careless of me to get in your way! I feel so ashamed for frightening you. Are you ok?

     I’m wound up now. I think I might go for a walk to calm down.



Kenny Higgs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenny Higgs said...

My life, articulated. Well done. I recognise a lot of the people described and call them the "It doesn't mean me brigade."
My father in law used to park in the disabled spaces at Blickling, when I asked why he said "Well I'm not walking all that way". (doesn't mean me)
A friend used to park on the zigzag lines outside school because she'd "be late otherwise" (doesn't mean me)
A whole group of friends were playing football on some grass they weren't even supposed to stand on. "Well, we've got to wear these kids out" (doesn't mean me).
Bloody hell, that's almost a rant on it's own.
(where is my one?)

Lucy Benedict said...

God, YES! Tossers, the lot of them. And I haven't even covered other pedestrians yet...

(I don't know).