SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive
It’ssurprising how much of a wretched ball of irritability you can be some days.
My wife often mentions it when I get home from work, but I normally just snap her head off.
Rob Bukey went viral this week with his YouTube video Newcastle Stop Whingeing. And fair enough. We shouldn’t whinge as much as we do. But we do.
Take driving home from work.
Forward motion is an important thing when you’re having a dream run.
It’s an unfortunate fact, however,that sometimes little old ladies, B-doubles or P-PLATERS!!! will hold you up on the verge of a PB, triggering what I like to call a PFBU (Private Futile Blow-Up).
A PFBU is where you bang the steering wheel, grind teeth and exclaim something Leyton Hewitt-esque like “COME ON!!”
As all adult road usersknow, it’s important to appear cool as you pop off, or failing that, hope yourcar is sound proof.
Because really, that P-plater I got stuck behind at the traffic lights the other eveningshould not have taken so long to respond to the green arrow.
It meant I missed mychance to get across too.
Not the greatest disappointment in the grand scheme of disappointments, I’ll admit, but certainly up there with forgetting to bring your umbrella to work the day it rained, or stepping in cat poo.
Alot of things have to come together to get that dream run, and missing a green arrow ain’t one of them.
Normally I’m a supportive personwho believes in giving P-Platers the chance to hone their skills and take their time and justify why their insurance premiums are so high.
But not that evening.
Not that I did anything except wait patiently behind the P-Plater hoping to join in the shared quest to turn right, until it became patently obvious the P-Plater was going to make it, but I wasn’t.
Then I had a mild, private paroxysm, which surprised me in its vehemence.
KC and the Sunshine Band were playing on the radio. But that’s not the way I like it. Uh Huh.
“Damn you P-Plater” wasa summary of the feelings I expressed as that P-Plater’sbrake lights merged into the sea of red rum, I mean red brake lights that make up busy suburban dusk-hour traffic.
I meanwhile had to waitfor the next green arrow. All of one minute. It was emotional in a way that Steven Biddulph would not have approved.
Up until that moment, everything had been going so well, which shows how these Tourette-like moments can sneak up on you.
There’d been a couple of decent tunes on the radio, I’d made it past the Adamstown gates without encountering a coal train, I’d …hang on.
Now that I think of it, there had been another PFBU at theroundabout earlier, walking to my car.
My car was located about five suburbs away from where I work, as is the case with parking in Newcastle these days, and I’d been setting a righteous clip on foot.
Again, under those circumstances, you don’t like things to slow you up, which brought us to the roundabout.
Traffic to the left, right, oncoming and from behind –the classic ‘everyone’s coming home from work’ peak hour scenario.
A pedestrian minefield, with the question being, should I maintain stride and thread my way across, Holden Precision Driving Team style?
Or get bedazzled by headlights, fall out of step just a bit, and get run over?
It all turned on a four-wheel-drive that came onto the roundabout. It didn’t look like it was going to turn right, and if it didn’t then I’d be right. But if it did, then that would complicate things, if that’s what you call being run over.
We entered the Matrix slow motion moment when it’sdetermined who is the one. Sure enough, it turned out I was the one – who had to wait – while the four-wheel-drive turned right. (No indicator, mind you.)
Thereafter 50 following cars filed by, delaying my crossingall of another minute. Cue the PFBU. Not that anyone would have noticed.
As in space, no one can hear you scream on a median strip in peak hour traffic. So I just made like alive Leunig cartoon until the stream broke.
I’d forgotten about that clearly poignant moment as I sat back now on the spot where the P-plater had impeded my forward motion waiting for the lights to cycle.
Although I hadn’t really suffered trauma, I was manifesting symptoms, like anger and struggling to regulate emotions, and when I got home I was surely going to self-medicate.
But I know we shouldn’t whinge, and so with that, I took the greatest sedative known to peak hour commuters – a deep breath –andmoved on. Once the arrow had changed to green, of course.