I left a meeting at Nettlebed at 17:10 yeterday and set out for home 18 miles away. It took 5 hours! The first bit was fine, but it took over four hours on the M40 to get from Stokenchurch to Wycombe (4 miles). Over four hours! I could run it in half an hour! I know time flies when you're having fun, but five hours sitting in a car is five hours. Bishop Stephen says we should all do nothing to change our life. Being able to do nothing is half way there, I thought, so it’s time to change my life.
Hour 1: ripples of anger and frustration, giving way to almost Budddhist detachment. Take the inner road to calm. Radio increasingly boring, as news stories recycle times 3. Blow that for a game of soldiers. Subscription on satnav traffic expires. Doesn’t matter. I'm not going anywhere anyway! Phone the wife. Think of happy days on the beach. Guy in car to the left picking nose, and thinks I can't see him. Ha ha! That’s not very Buddhist.
Hour 2: Albeit at real snail’s pace, this car has achieved 10101 miles! Ta-Da! That’s a mathematical wotsit. Play with numbers for ten minutes to celebrate. Only 4.3 miles now to the turn off. It’s so good to know, even if you can't do anything about it. Check news. Nothing else happened in world. Time for slushy John Rutter carols CD. I only listen to it at this time of year, and it’s musical bubblegum really, but some of it’s very lovely, and it takes me back to happy days in the choir at Sandhurst. You can’t beat what church musicians call the Rutting season. One or two have left their vehicles and concerned little huddles are having case conferences all along the road. At this rate Ruddy Cliff Richard will come round the corner and lead some singing. No he won't. Only joking.
Hour 3: Slight change of mood with evening office, that the evening may be holy, good and peaceful. Psalms all about God saving the helpless guy who waits. “Behold I am coming soon says the Lord.” Good idea. Still nothing else happened in the world, but the standup comedy show after the news is fun. Go for a walk, avoiding posh fat man complaining loudly. Now -2 degrees outside. Bishop Dominic says you should always keep a banana in the car. I haven't even got a banana skin, just sweet wrappers. Drat!
Hour 3·5/ Mile 3·5: Signor Nosepick losing patience. Not a happy bunny. On verge of civil disorder as the famed queueing instinct of the British begins to break down all around and one or two desperadoes wiggle onto the hard shoulder. Mr Nosepick loses it. Leaves car and urinates on stalk of nearest emergency phone. I wonder whether that’s a good idea, electrically speaking. What a way to die! No hang on, It must be OK because emergency phones don't explode when it rains. On the other hand Signor Nosepick’s pee is warm and has velocity. Curious inner monologue on subject best avoided.
Hour 4/Mile 4: 100 yard dash at 4 miles an hour! At this rate I'll be home... er... Friday. Have I made a will? Interesting discussion about youth justice on Radio 4. You can survive anything with radio 4. Time for Nice CD of Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625). Time to learn the higher tenor part of the Second service, which I never quite mastered at college. Five or six goes through and, by George I've got it. Must join a choir again some time. Lucy phones. Only a mile to go. Turn off engine, pull out computer and snicker in blog piece, hoping don't get caught by fuzz. Hang on, who's going to catch me? If Mr Nosepick nabs me for playing with computer in a car I'll do him for, er, peeing on an emergency phone.
Hour 5/ Mile 5: Rain starts. Rain stops. Almost hallucinatin’ after all this meditation and lack of food. Turn engine off and go for another little walk. What if I need the toilet? Do they do duty frees on this ferry? Pass broken down car and abandoned lorry then... 2 mph. 4 mph. Hang onto your hat. 6 mph, and 200 yards. Then like morning mist melting away, all is clear. How do they do that?
Have I changed my life? I've certainly slowed down. I bet Mr Miaggi from the Karate Kid would say I did better at the Buddhist thing than Sensai Nosepick. Time to sell the car and buy a skateboard?