One of the great things about having a website which isn’t aimed at children is that it gives me the freedom to post stuff that might be in some way inappropriate for young ‘uns. Things like this open letter I wrote several years back, and have had sitting on my hard drive ever since…

Dear Cars in the Traffic Jam Behind Me When I Broke Down on My Way to Work This Morning,

First of all, I’d like to apologise for any and all inconvenience caused to you when my Ford Mondeo, registration number ALZ 3391, broke down at the traffic lights on Lochy Bridge, just outside Fort William, at 8:35 this morning. The breakdown was completely unexpected and took me as much by surprise as I’ve no doubt it did you.

Everything had been going fine up until the point I arrived at the back of a four car queue waiting at the traffic lights at the Lochy Bridge junction. All of a sudden, without warning, the engine shuddered violently, then cut out on me. Turning the key wasn’t producing anything more than a faint click, so I knew that no matter how hard I tried there was no way I was going to get the car started again. That is why I switched on the hazard lights, left the car and went over to stand on the pavement so I could call for assistance without fear of being rear-ended by any of you.

Many of you repeatedly sounded your horn at me during the fifteen minutes my car was sat stationary in the middle lane of the busy junction. Others shook your heads and shot me such angry looks I could almost fear the air scorching between us. It is to these drivers in particular to whom I address this letter.

First of all, as I previously explained, the car had broken down. I had not decided that morning rush hour would be the optimum time at which to park my vehicle on the only road leading into the town centre in such a way as to partially block the flow of traffic in all directions. I was also only too painfully aware of the fact that other vehicles were finding it difficult – if not impossible – to get past my abandoned automobile, and so I can assure you that your frenzied honking and tooting as you attempted to draw my attention to this fact was unnecessary.

Likewise, despite being fairly well built, I am unable to lift a Mk2 1.8L Ford Mondeo even a relatively short distance without mechanical assistance, and so the cries of the gentleman in the blue Vauxhall Astra to “get it fucking shifted” – while no doubt well intentioned – were ultimately pointless. Perhaps if one of you had seen fit to get out of the comfort of your own fully functioning car for a few seconds in order to help me push my lifeless vehicle to the side of the road, the subsequent four-mile tailback of traffic could have been somewhat avoided.

Of course, that would have involved venturing out into the ice-cold rain which sliced down from the sky like razor blades, soaking me through to my very soul. The sight of me standing there with my hair plastered flat against my head and my shirt wet to the point of transparency would make anyone think twice about leaving the warmth and dry of their vehicle, and so I don’t for one moment blame any of you for not doing so and electing instead to sit in your unmoving vehicles wishing me dead.

When a friend of mine did eventually show up to help me move the car, I’d like to especially thank those of you who accelerated past at high speed as I heaved the car onto the pavement with my friend sat behind the wheel. After causing such a hold up through no real fault of my own, I doubtlessly deserved being introduced to the whole new levels of fear I discovered as several tonnes of angry metal thundered past just a few inches from my legs and lower body, and I can only hope none of you were too disappointed that I narrowly avoided being crippled for life.

Finally I’d like to thank the two men who actually did jump out of their van in order to help push the car the last two feet into a nearby petrol station. While their assistance came a little too late to have any real impact on the situation, their efforts were still greatly appreciated.

So, let me take this opportunity once again to apologise for the entire incident, and to thank you all for your patience during it. Without your kindness and charity the whole thing could have been very embarrassing and uncomfortable for me, and I only hope the fact that my car may well be damaged beyond all reasonable repair comes as some small comfort to you all.

Best Wishes,

Barry

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