Writing and driving

driving-Michael-Collins-Memoirs-writing-1I will be forever grateful to the Brisbane City Council and the Department of Main Roads for their unswerving ability to coordinate the flow of vehicles from one set of traffic lights to another on weekends.

It’s marvellous. Instead of driving in one, boring, uninterrupted, time-saving stream, we take off from the line, drive at the speed limit, and then come to halt at the next set. The timing is exquisite, with the lights inevitably turning to red just as we approach, and teasing us with a will they, won’t they sense of anticipation.

“You’re out of your tiny little mind,” you say.

Hey, slow down here. I’m a writer, so a tiny little mind may well be my prerogative. However, think of what we wordsmiths do, well, some of us. We write about people. And to write about people we need to observe them.

On a weekday, when traffic flow is organised, this is infinitely more difficult. Unless I’m stuck in a traffic jam (something that never happens in Brisbane), the time allotted to  waiting for lights to change is usually taken up with a desperate fiddle with the CD player, texting a few people, making a call, checking my email, feeding the baby, ogling the pedestrians, and applying my makeup.

Weekends are wonderful. They are far more relaxed. I can sit in air-conditioned comfort and watch people, not caring a hoot how late the misphased lights are making me.

Little dramas might be played out in neighbouring cars as we shuffle along the road. Love blossoms and relationships falter, noses are picked, spots are squeezed, and kisses exchanged. Encapsulated and insulated in our bubbles of metal and plastic, we sometimes forget there are greedy eyed voyeurs about.

driving-Michael-Collins-Memoirs-writing-2Even the rev heads deserve a look. Sitting rigid, eyes bulging and jaws tense, they wait, almost insane with eagerness, to screech off down the road as the lights turn to green. We’ll soon see them again because the phalanx of trundling conveyances form a tight knit community that has nowhere else to go but to the next set of lights.

I’m quite sure that the Brisbane Metropolitan Transport Centre will now have me squarely on their CCTV screens and flick the lights to green as I approach, thoroughly spoiling my weekend fun.

Oh, and that junk about stuffing around at the lights. I jest, of course. I don’t wear makeup.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Leave a Reply