Thing no.23

2006

My eyes are tired from too much looking and the sky has troubled me all day. I’m driving to Reading in my Mark 2 Escort. It’s not quite vintage but I bought it recently because of its shiny metallic green paintwork, chrome bumpers and shining hubcaps. Above 60 miles per hour the engine is extremely loud and the cars in the rear view mirror stretch vertically because of the vibrations that hum through the bodywork.

The sun is glancing off the three lanes of wet tarmac ahead. I see the banks of red floating red taillights too late.

Three people slowly emerge from their cars – a Ford Fiesta behind me and a Ford Sierra behind this. A girl with a shaky voice tells me that it wasn’t her fault. I find some paper and a large black marker in my glove compartment. As we write in the rain the clumsy letters of our names and addresses slip and blur down the paper.

The traffic has started to move again. Three strangers stand together in the central lane and watch as the hiss of the passing tyres flattens the plastic and glass from their cars.

Eventually the police close the motorway and tow us to the side.