I have a very long commute to and from the place where I am presently working. Most of it is beautiful, if you like picture-postcard English villages and rolling farmland…and I decidedly do. Aside from the beauty of the scenery, there are some interesting people-watching opportunities, such as the following:
On the way home last week we saw a dark red sportscar pulled into a layby in a small woods. The driver, a man, was standing against a gate in his shirtsleeves, crying with his face in his hands. We drove on by, as you tend to do. This week, the car is still there. It isn’t a breakdown, or he would have had it towed. The question arises…did the sobbing man go into the woods and end it all? Has no one discovered him yet? Or is it all a coincidence?
There is an older lady who walks to work every morning. Every morning, she is wearing the same trousers, a kind of black pinstriped material, a bit too short and flared at the bottoms so they look like Star Trek pants. Every. Single. Day. It doesn’t look like a uniform, and she wears different tops with them. In bad weather she tucks them into boots, in good weather she strides along like Captain Kirk with her ankle boots showing beneath them. Enquiring minds want to know: does she have a closet full of idential trousers, and just switches them every day? I prefer to think that she does. Nonetheless, we refer to her as “Crusty”. Eeeeuw.
Occasionally we see an obviously mad sort of man, wearing a nice black suit (once quite elegant) with dirty white trainers and a long scarf around his neck. Underneath I think he usually wears a t-shirt, but I seem to remember him not wearing a shirt once at all. His hair is wild, and he kind of bounds along. This is Alderley Edge, the fabulously expensive home of famous footballers, so I suppose of course the local crazies would retain a louche sort of elegance.
At the Costa Coffee place (similar to Starbucks) there was a group of very young schoolgirls (ages 8-10) sitting at the tables outside, sipping lattes and nibbling on croissants while doing their homework. It was too priviledged for words. They probably all had platinum cards.
But it’s not all Aston Martins and platinum cards in Alderley Edge, as illustrated by the older guy, fully suited but with tie pulled askew, who sat on a bus stop bench drinking directly from a bottle of white wine. Hunched over, wine dangling between his knees, he looked like the very picture of The Worst Day Ever – all he needed was his cardboard box of desk belongings and silver-framed pictures to be perfect.
And lastly, there are the second and third wives in their black SUVs on the school run (second and third referring to the younger versions that men acquire after trading in their starter wives) – not unique, because there are so many it seems as though someone must be turning them out on some giant Barbie factory line, but funny because they’re all so much alike. Very blonde, highlighted hair, even dark tans, butts aerobicised so tight they squeak when they walk. The SUVs are always glossy black, and they are so big you’d think they would require an HGV license to drive.
As interesting as the people are, my favourites were the rabbits. There was one field in the spring that was positively thick with little bunnies – all you could see were little ears waving above the grass. It was like Watership Down, I loved watching for the bunnies…but as spring wore into summer, their numbers went down and down and down. Because bunnies aren’t very smart about cars, and our lovely drive was practically paved with flat bunnies, the odd squirrel, quite a few pheasants, and the occasional slow or unlucky fox or badger. All our happy forest friends, squashed on the asphalt.
And that’s my drive. :)