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Motorway Madness – Another True Story


M6 motorway, late 1970’s. Winter, Night time.
The man was about 30 years old then, had 2 young kids in the back of his van and the damn thing kept breaking down on him, about every 3 or 4 miles.  He didn’t tell me what the problem was, but from reading between the lines, I suspect it wasn’t something that serious. Couldn’t have been something like a snapped cambelt, or worn out breaks. It must have been something that was rectifiable in no time, if he, a railway engineer by profession (and not a mechanic), was able to temporarily fix the van each time, and still attempt to finish his journey.
He said he had no breakdown cover (unless if you consider his probing knowledge of all things mechanical, as “cover”). I couldn’t tell you if this were true or cooked. Don’t know much about motoring in the 1970’s, and trust me, I don’t really want to know.
No mobile phone was at hand (I will accept the explanation that few people had them then), but even if he had one, he didn’t know anyone who had one or who would be willing to wake up close to midnight to drive 50 miles down the M6 to come and assist him.
Could have rang the police, but apparently at the time he didn’t ‘really like cops'(as if anybody ever ‘really likes cops’)

“You think you’ve experienced hardship? Never, not in a million years.” He mocked. “You have no clue. At some point you have to man up, boy” He said to me, clearly condescendingly, as I felt what i can only guess to be the most feminine-like feeling men sometimes feel when confronted with such a challange, wash over me. For a second I thought I were a girl.

He notices the speck in my eye, but conveniently ignores the logs in both his own eyes. Silently I wonder, if the first (or at least the second) time the van broke down he didn’t for a moment think of his kids first (and not just safeguarding his ego) and call the damn cops! What sort of a man really is he?

Certainly not what I’d like to man-up into…

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