Pedestrian In Road: Slow Down


As expected, life hasn’t slowed down in the slightest. My weekends are almost always jam packed and exhausting, and this weekend was certainly no exception. I went straight from work to a surprise “Welcome Home” gathering for my friend (which was a massive success, a rarity for our attempts at organising such things), and then straight to Cardiff for another Oxjam event. Now that I have a normal job I sadly had to be back in London for work on Monday so I left Cardiff Sunday evening, drained and dreading the rainy drive home. Little did I know the events of my weekend were far from over…

It’s been a while since I had a car-related adventure to report, and I put that down to the fact that dear old Alfred is now dead and gone and therefore has not been causing me any travel stresses. The new Peugeot (yet-to-be-named) had so far been remarkably reliable and all my journeys smooth sailing. Until now. I’m going to say the non-flashing petrol gauge was to blame, but really it was my over-tired and over-caffeinated state of mind that caused the engine to give out halfway down the M4. It was also my over-tired and over-caffeinated state of mind that caused me to have a mini breakdown when I realised the implications of this situation.

The first thing I did was call my father (still a kid at heart really) but after a few minutes of complaining about how unfair life is we both came to the realisation that there wasn’t much he could do in the way of rescuing me. This was a situation for which I had to man up and deal with myself. To be fair, I was pretty lucky in that the last service station was walking distance away. However at the time getting out of my car in the middle of the motorway and walking in the rain to fill up a can of petrol seemed like the worst thing in the world. Plus the fact that I was so tired I would probably fall asleep at the wheel after this adventure and kill myself. All happy Sunday evening thoughts.

Forty minutes later, a very wet and grumpy Joy returned to the car covered in petrol (didn’t quite master the whole filling up a petrol can thing), only to have the police drive up behind me 2 seconds later. The appearance of an unexpected pair of headlights scared me shitless and at the rate my brain cells were working that evening I was in no state to talk to anyone let alone angry policemen. I somehow managed to convey my situation and they proceeded to watch me fill up the car, start up and move off. And then followed me. It was only then that I noticed the signs all along the motorway saying “Pedestrian in Road: Slow Down 50”.  That was me. This was what my life had come to; not only had I ruined my own Sunday evening I had now disturbed everyone else’s peaceful Sunday drive home by forcing them to slow down.

Feeling very silly, I turned on Radio 1 to cheer me up only to find that Annie Mac was doing a “self-pity party” soundtrack. Couldn’t have been more fitting for me at that moment in time. So I decided to tweet the perils of my evening, joining in with some much deserved self-pitying. And lo and behold, a couple of depressing songs later, Annie Mac shared my tweet with the world (or the listening audience of Sunday evening radio 1) and added her own view on my situation – “slightly embarrassing situation there”. Yes Annie, yes it was. Such is the story of my life.

Because as much as I took the self pity stance on this, I really only had myself to blame for my embarrassment. I think I have to accept that the common denominator across all ridiculous occurrences in my life, is me. Until recently I could blame my ‘special’ car but now I just have to realise that I have an utter lack of common sense and this can land me in a pickle now and again. But it’s okay, because I got a mention on Radio 1. Every cloud has its silver lining, and optimism is always the outlook I will take no matter how many motorways I end up stranded on.


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