In the office I mumbled a few “hellos” to other drivers. The guy behind the desk handed me some keys and a worksheet. “You’ve got the 21 seater on locals – it’s door to door”. I heard a comrade driver give a little ironic laugh. “Hope the little sods are ready!” I walked out to the vehicle which is a kind of stretched mini bus. I had given myself plenty of time to put all the data into Sat Naff. The first pick up was right across the other side of the city. I filled in the tachometer sheet and did the vehicle defect report. Right girl – you’ve gotta get on top of this. Forget all frilly romance novelist nonsense and do a good job. I had plenty of time. My first pick up was at 0715 and the traffic was still light. Sat Naff chattered away. I tuned the radio to BBC radio 4. Stock markets were crashing…wars were thrashing….sex offenders were flashing…..As Euro summit talks controlled the world, I controlled my bus through unfamiliar streets towards a large peripheral housing estate with a troubled reputation. With minutes to spare I pulled up at the base of a dilapidated tower block. Graffiti tagged concrete walls backdropped some fly tipped bin bags and old car tyres. I spoke to Sat Naff about the times we had had together. “Why did you bring me here?” he said. “You brought me here!” I replied. “I am a machine – you have free will”. It’s a good job he doesn’t write novels.
No one appeared. A lady in pyjamas wandered past with a plastic bottle of milk. I got out, locked the bus and went to the intercom. It was out of service. I decided against trying to get in and going to the flat. I gave it a further 5 minutes and drove off. So far so good. The next half dozen went smoothly but I noticed that I was already late. My phone started to ring. I pulled over. “You’ve forgot one at the tower block”. Said a rather harsh voice. “He didn’t come out.”
“He’s got anger issues and couldn’t find his tablets – can you go back for him?” Well, I was already late – and now I had a real excuse. I went back. A lad jumped in, punching his fist in to the palm of his other hand. I sat him in the front where I could see him. He plugged himself in to Lady Gaga. We finished the round and headed for the college. Sat Naff was a wonderful friend, (well, he did want me to short cut through a pub car park but no one is perfect). Gradually I noticed that the kids were kinda laughing and shouting out a couple of words. GOSHE. DRAT. GOSHE. DRAT. They had cottoned on to Sat Naff who is still set on French! I laughed too. I think we’re all gonna get along just très bien
Emma thinx: Sat Nav – where your sense of direction becomes the direction of your senses.