Monday, September 03, 2012

Your Author versus The Man in the Black Audi

I've had some ups and downs in my life, but if there is one thing I am proud of, it is the fact that I've never sunk so low that I've had to sleep in my car.

As a worker who routinely finds himself on late night and early morning shifts, the sight of lorries parked in lay-bys - their rear doors open to give the illegal immigrants a chance to breathe - while their drivers sleep the required number of hours that the law allows is a common one. I, for one, an thankful for this particular bit of Eurocrat meddling, as these laws have cut down the chance of my being killed entirely to death by a bleary-eyed trucker, veering all over the A33 with forty tonnes of tractor parts in his trailer after at 26-hour drive from the other end of Romania.

What one does not expect to see is a large black Audi parked in the same layby, night after night, early morning after early morning, its windows steamed up to indicate that there is a person - or people - inside.

Its regular position on a main trunk road just outside Reading gives the lie to my initial assumption that it is a couple in the midst of the Acts of Venus, and it soon becomes clear to me that this is a driver who has sunk to the ultimate indignity: sleeping in their car.

But who, I ask myself, could this be? Who would sleep in a layby on the A33 in a black Audi? Who wants to be near London but not in it? Who wants to be reasonably near his work, but in such a position to get there - or to any other venue under his command - with relative ease? Who, indeed?

Every night I gave him a cheery toot as I went past, hoping that he would show his face, against the glass of his windscreen. Alas, it was never to be.

And then the Olympics ended, and I never saw the car again.

I've got your number, Lord Coe.

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