Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Get Lost II

Get Lost II

Following up on yesterday's post, I thought I might illustrate my utter lack of sense of direction through Monday's drive to work.

I have worked in the same building in Reading for the best part of 16 years, nine months and 24 days. You would have thought that I'd know where it is by now. Granted, I couldn't find it on my first day, but I really did think I was over that by now.

My trip to work isn't your average. While most people live within easy reach of their place of employment, home and office in my case are 107 miles apart. I've driven the same route for long enough, however, to end up in the right county nine times out of ten.

So, having just roared out of Salisbury - the halfway point on yesterday's journey, it was with some annoyance that I found myself stuck behind the natural enemy of the maniacal driver - the Tesco lorry, bumbling along at 40mph towards Andover.

Well, I was having none of it. I knew a shortcut, one which would zoom me along to the A303, past this forty ton motoring menace and onwards, ever onwards towards Basingstoke. I knew it was a shortcut, because I'd driven along it before. About fifteen years previously. In the other direction.

"Save seconds on your journey!" it beckoned to me, "Turn right down here."

Without even signalling, I dived down the road to Stockbridge, wherever that is.

It was half an hour later, as the sun started to rise, that I was becoming more than a little worried about the number of road signs egging me on toward Southampton. Before I knew it, I was in some housing estate in Winchester, my throat aching from repeated screams of "BLOODY-FUCKING-WHERE-THE-BLOODY-FUCK-IS-THE-FUCKING-MOTORWAY!"

Then, blessed relief as I spot a small blue sign: "M3". I knew the M3 went past Winchester. Thatcher's legacy of rural vandalism as Twyford Down ripped through the local hills, destroying the Hampshire countryside forever in the quest to knock five minutes of car journeys, and I hope they bury her in the fast lane, while she's still breathing.

Back to the chase: I followed the signs to the M3. For a very, very long time. In fact, I followed signs to the M3 which also read things like "Southampton 6 miles" and "Going to Portsmouth? Nearly there, fella!"

At last, I reached the motorway, somewhere near the entrance to Hell that is Eastleigh, and headed, at long last, in the right direction, having only wasted an hour and approximately thirty miles. Losing the advantage of my early start, which would normally see me flying into work, I was now stuck in the Monday morning rush hour, and joined the crawl up the M3 toward London and then on through Reading, officially the worst town on the planet for stupid road junctions. I got to work just in time to knock off.

I have spent some time studying a map to find out where I went wrong:
i) Don't take shortcuts. That is why they have main roads, because they go where you are heading
ii) Never follow signs to Winchester. You'll only regret it later

I wouldn't complain, but I've taken two days off this week just so I can get home in time for Christmas. David Blunkett, I fear, is a better driver than I.

No comments: