Cars have always been something of a magical, too-good-to-be-true sort of thing to me. That I own a car and have a full driving licence is nothing short of miraculous.
And yet, there’s a comical side to them too. Imagine, if you will, four lads. They’re all around 17 years old, and have piled haphazardly into a tinny Ford Fiesta from the late 90s. They’re playing Eminem far too loudly for ten o’clock on a school night.
With its 1 litre engine struggling under the weight of these strapping boys, the Fiesta pulls up beside me at a set of lights. I am listening to a CD I burned called ‘Summer Cheese’ – Counting Crows have just finished being accidentally in love and there is a brief quiet in my car. Through my open windows, the noise of their straining engine and blaring speakers drifts through Charlie Micra. I try not to laugh, but then comes the kicker,
“She’s laufin’ at us!” cries one of them, in a broad Norfolk accent. These boys are further from home than I thought. It makes me smile a little more. I do not look at them, and fight the urge to nod.
“She is! She just nodded!” The driver revs his already struggling engine and I can not hold my giggle any longer.
The lights turn green and I pull away as I always do, calm and controlled. By this point, The Killers are Human and I keep my speed low until that perfect point in the song when my right foot somehow seems to find the floor and Charlie flies forward. I glance to my left as I turn right, to the Fiesta that’s going straight on.
Despite the driver’s revving and my creeping pace, I’m still miles ahead of them. Without even trying, I’ve won a drag race.