There’s a mini roundabout not far from our house which is always fun to use because people park on both sides of every road that approaches it.
So when, say, you’re on a bus that’s already twenty minutes late so every little delay adds a further sigh to your otherwise chipper demeanour encountering this roundabout can add a few extra levels to your annoyance.
This morning it was right on up there.
We got to the roundabout in the bus and were beginning to turn.
A 4×4 drives up to the roundabout from the direction we are turning. Bearing traffic is already parked along the road, the arrival of said vehicle means that we can no longer turn. There is physically no room for us to get the swing.
Behind the 4×4 is a nice empty stretch of road.
I don’t drive. But even I, with my zero expertise of driving, could see that the easiest solution was for the 4×4 to reverse back along the road a little bit, allowing us the swing we needed to turn, before travelling on their way again in the forward direction.
Which is why, presumably, the bus and 4×4 sat at this roundabout looking at each other for five minutes.
Five minutes in which two old ladies were shouting “back up then” to the driver of the 4×4. One of them with a Jamaican lilt to their voice, which made the annoyance to all involved feel a little more tropical.
The 4×4 did not back up.
The driver and his passenger continued to look at the bus as though it should back up. It’s apparently illegal for a bus to reverse on a road without someone behind it, guiding it, for starters. For seconders, we were halfway through a pissing roundabout.
And they sat there. The road behind them still clear. Clearer than anything could be.
The old ladies are standing up by now. Waving their arms.
I am breathing deeply and calmly, stifling all hatred for fricking idiots. In a parallel universe, I’m joining the old ladies in shouting. In another I’ve got off the bus and am knocking on the window of the 4×4 to ask them if they’re actually stupid. In this one though, breathing, reading and trying not to look at the time because I’m already way later than I wanted to be because the bus didn’t turn up on time.
Eventually there is movement in the 4×4. They must have decided to reverse, we all think. The old ladies even say as much.
What they’ve decided to do is this: Firstly, shake their heads at the bus driver because he’s at fault. Obviously. This is despite them driving up to the roundabout as we were already going round it. And secondly, make a big song and dance about having to drive around the bus by driving across the grass verge on the wrong side of the road.
And then, when they did get past the bus, look up the road we had come down and see that it was clear and have an obvious conversation, with gestures, between driver and passenger about the fact that we, the bus, should have backed up and let them through.