Thinking outside the (car shaped) box


In the end I had to tip everything out of my handbag onto the bed, but they still weren’t there. Just like I knew they wouldn’t be. I remember taking them off my head, folding them and placing them on the table, while we drank smoothie and lemonade and discussed other people’s weddings. Before we left, I went to the toilet. When I returned, I picked up my handbag.

“Shall we go?” she said. And we walked out. My wonderfully oversized leopard print sunglasses left folded on the table. Damn.

I thought about just buying some more, but found I felt strangely attached to the old sunglasses, and resolved to get them back. I rang the lounge, and sure enough, they had them behind the bar. Problem was, they were a 30 minute drive outside the city. Sigh.

Although I resolved to go after work, the more I thought about it the more my heart sank. Walking home from work, getting in my car, sitting in traffic, finding somewhere to park… None of it appealed. What if it was sunny and I needed my sunglasses to drive?

I googled other ways of getting there and discovered that a bus leaving from the stop just outside my office would take me to a stop just outside the bar. Public transport – what an adventure! Bizarrely, I now felt excited about going.

You can tell it’s been a while since I took the bus, since I was holding £2 in change in my hand when the driver asked me for £6.20. I started to doubt myself. WHY was I spending more money and more time doing something that could be accomplished more simply in the car.

But in a case of everything aligning, the podcast I was listening to turned out to be about doing things in a different way and experiencing new things.

What did I experience today that I would not have if I had driven?

  1. The kindness of a stranger. The driver of the first bus I tried to get on told me that I should wait for the next bus because it took a more direct route and arrived there quicker. He didn’t have to do that. I was grateful.
  2. Making silly faces at a baby in facing backwords in a pushchair on the bus. They were cute.
  3. Seeing how smaller roads I’d never driven down before linked with the roads more familiar to me. I marveled at how I can live somewhere for 3 years and not yet have explored these routes.
  4. Seeing some beautiful Oxfordshire villages.
  5. Switching off and relaxing in a way that I can’t when I’m driving (which reminded me of one of my favourite Charlie Brown quotes “Security is sleeping in the back seat of a car…“)
  6. A cocktail (pictured above).
  7. Getting slowly tipsy in a bar while writing.
  8. Having a deep and meaningful phone conversation with Guy on the journey home.

It may have taken longer, but it felt more like an adventure than a chore, which is a good enough reason to do anything. And you’ll be pleased to hear that I was reunited with my sunglasses.

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