Saturday, 26 September 2009


Yesterday I was practically in tears of complete frustration. A perfectly ordinary incident, but it tested my patience and forebearance to the utter limit.

Those who really know me acknowledge that I'm not an especially calm person and that I get thrown by unexpected delays and diversions. If I can't stick to a plan I get twitchy and upset, partly because I have a horror of being late. I have a deficient sense of time, and I can't judge how long any alternative scheme will take. I'm actually quite easily self-diverted at home, rather a butterfly really, and if you want me to be ready when promised then you have to keep me focused. And of course I get ratty if nagged, so in fact I'm a lot of trouble! But I get there. I'm best if left to do it all my way, in my order, without interference or suggestions. Labels such as 'Aspergers' have been uttered in my connection, although how you reconcile that with other, more capable and empathetic aspects of my nature beats me. But I would certainly not claim to be as cool and laid-back as I may appear on short acquaintance!

Anyway, I had a laser appointment in Welling at 4pm, and because it was a Friday, and the kids are back at school, I gave myself two hours to drive there. Now followeth a short geography lesson. Where I live near Brighton is (let's say) at the 6 position on a clock face, and Welling is at the 1 position, or north east by north me hearties, and it's only thirty miles away as the crow flies, most of it along motorways. The first and last couple of miles are on suburban roads, but I know my rat runs. I've actually done the trip in an hour door to door. It's up the M23, right hand down a bit, then along the M25, then left hand down a bit and in towards Welling along the motorway-standard A2. Easy-peasy. But this time it went horribly wrong.

I made a good start, perfectly on time at 2pm, and raced northwards up the M23, passing Gatwick Airport at warp speed. Then, a few miles from the M23/M25 junction, full stop. The next hour and a half was a tale of inching forward. Probably sounds very familiar to seasoned commuters, but it gradually wound me up, even though I was listening to my 'Serene stuff' playlist. The two hours I'd allowed - which had seemed a bit over the top - melted away. By the time I turned onto the M25 it was 3.30pm and I had half an hour left: just possible to do it. Then I ran into more stop-start traffic going east. I howled, chewed the steering wheel, bit metal, and spat blood. I turned off onto the old A25 in case that was clear. Just as bad. With wet eyes I pulled in at 3.45pm and phoned Roz to say I couldn't make it. She was wonderfully sympathetic, and rescheduled the booking for early October. Then I continued on my way to Gillingham, as I'd arranged to spend the late afternoon and evening with my cousin R---. When I finally arrived, after some more foam-at-the-mouth frustration at Sevenoaks, I worked out that my average speed over the entire three and a half hours had been 15mph. It would have been even less if I'd been tempted to pull in at a pub and have a soothing gin and tonic and a toilet stop.

Sequel: I drove home much later, in the dark, on ordinary roads, in less than two hours. Moral: arrange to have hair-removal appointments at 9pm or later!

This must have been the worst journey I can remember. As I said to Roz, I'd built my day around that 4pm appointment, and left in good time. It was SO disappointing to be thwarted. I think, in hindsight, it was more than just being trapped in heavy traffic. It was as if some malignant force had intervened to set back my transition.


  1. I think my worst ever trip was from Surbiton (Hook) to Sutton.

    It's maybe 8 miles.

    It took four hours in a car.

    On a Sunday.

    ps. That's a LONG way to go for hair removal, Lucy...

  2. I agree that it's a long way to go, but Roz came highly recommended, she has a nice set-up with great equipment, she's very pleasant, seems very skilful, and the treatment is certainly clearing the facial hair. Come 5pm, I used to be applying powder to hide that telltale shadow; no longer. So I'm reluctant to change while we're doing so well. Besides, I usually combine a trip to Welling with a social visit, such as to my cousin in Gillingham.


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