Last June, I wrote about Bernie.
She’s a nice person but a bit on the weird side. Whenever I spoke to her, I always felt I was entering a parallel universe.
Mine is a world of peace and quiet; of birdsong and the wind blowing in the trees.
Hers is a world of police raids, the sound of breaking glass and looking up the paper to see how her son did in his last court appearance.
The two worlds rarely overlap. Thank God.
One of the things about Bernie, was that she couldn’t drive. She hadn’t the faintest idea how to control a car. But that didn’t stop her.
She used to arrive here and park her car in the middle of the lane. She wasn’t sure how to pull into one side, and as for the idea of driving in through an open gate……!! So I used to have to go out and park her car for her every time she arrived. And when she was leaving, I’d have to drive the car out onto the lane again, as she was afraid of hitting the gate posts.
One time, she decided to park further up the lane. I think she was getting a bit embarrassed at asking me to park the car all the time. Of course, when she did park up there, she took a chunk out of the car by hitting a wall. This wasn’t noticeable, as there were chunks missing all around the car – a great testament to her driving skills.
When the time came for her to leave, she just drove into a neighbours garden. I don’t know why she did that, and she probably doesn’t either. But this left her with a problem. You see, Bernie couldn’t reverse. She had never reversed a car in her life and didn’t know how to. So she called up to the neighbour’s door, and asked him very politely if he could possibly reverse her car out of his garden! I would love to have seen his face…
Bernie has been driving for the last ten or so years on a provisional licence. She has done the test on numerous occasions and was laughed out of it each time. When the government decided to clamp down on this business of endlessly issuing provisional licences, the first person I thought of was Bernie.
I met her yesterday. She was outside the local shop, still behind the wheel of her car. I went over to say hello. After the usual pleasantries, she proudly announced that she had passed her test! I thought she was having me on, but she then proceeded to reverse very smartly into a very narrow entranceway, turn the car and then park perfectly at the kerb. I know people who have been driving for years, who couldn’t manoeuvre as smartly as that.
I felt myself entering that parallel universe again.