A Bridge Too Far
An incident from a couple of weeks back that I didn’t get to blog about:
I left work in my new little Toyota Yaris at 6-ish, and began the slow drive home through the darkness and the rain. I was still a little jet-lagged from the Big Trip, and I was also pre-occupied with planning for the imminent trip to Splendour.
(Can you sense me getting my excuses in early here?)
About halfway across Sydney Harbour Bridge, aka Australia’s busiest road, the car started acting strangely, not responding to the accelerator pedal and producing all sorts of incomprehensible lights on the dashboard. Realising that I wasn’t getting much further, I managed to coast to a sliproad just off the main highway before I finally conked out.
With my hazards flashing and the rush hour traffic whizzing past me on either side at 100 km/h, I stumbled out to the median strip and made for the blue Emergency Phone. Shivering with cold, I picked up the receiver and gratefully heard the sound of a ring…and ring…and ring…until it eventually rang out. No bugger at the other end! I trudged back to the car and hunkered down, trusting to the CCTV cameras to alert The Authorities to my presence.
Evidently they did – hooray for the surveillance society! I had been there for fewer than 10 minutes when the orange lights of a repair truck appeared in the rear view mirror and two nice chaps/angels from heaven appeared to tow me away.
The ensuing dialogue went something like this:
Nice chap: “Any idea what the problem is?”
Me: “I don’t understand anything about cars. Well…I may have, um, run out of petrol.”
Nice chap: “Whoops! (fiddles with keys and dashboard) Yep, we’ll take you to the nearest servo.”
I shrivelled with embarrassment and sat meekly while they sorted my life out in a good-humoured and entirely cost-free manner. A brilliant service for very stupid people, I must say.
I am now neurotically conscious of my petrol meter and have assiduously learned what all of the dashboard symbols indicate.
One of the most humiliating moments of my life.