By: Natalie Gane
Magically, I had been blessed with a 2hr window to myself to indulge in some Friday night shopping … at that Swedish sanctuary some call Ikea. After the day I’d had though, it could have been 2hrs at the local petrol station and I’d still have walked out the door with the same anticipation of a kid about to go to Australia’s Wonderland for the first time. Oh the thrill of The Bush Beast, the magic in Hanna Barbera Land, the terror on the Space Probe, the regurgitated lunches under the “pirate ship”… *
*Insert early ‘90s music for nostalgic effect (maybe some Fresh Prince and “Yo Home To Bel Air”). But alas, I digress…
Having started the day with about 4 hours (and that’s being generous) of broken sleep, I was utterly shattered before I even got to breakfast. My breakfast that is. I’d already fed the 3 month old (which seems to take an hour when you factor in an explosive nappy change, the obligatory pre-feed syringe full of medicine for this week’s ailment, and spew time) and the 4 year old (thankfully the rice bubbles AND weet bix combo is still proving to be a hit … for now).
The day continued as well as it had started. Its (not) funny how apparent the laws of “Murphy” seem to be when you’re suffering from sleep deprivation. In fact, I think I was the testing ground for multiple Murphy’s “Bills”, all vying for their chance to be read, passed and legislated as official Laws.
I’m not sure if it was the culminating frustration of every piece of distractive technology crashing, right when I just needed that 15min power-nap, or if it was when I stepped on multiple toy cars (that consequently got punted across the room in a way that would have made me a contender for next year’s Arsenal line up – oooh, daydream … 15million quid a year would be handy right now…), but life really was testing my patience today.
Finally, with the kids fed and bathed, I escaped out the front door (after hubby was late home) and headed to the car. Woops – wrong car keys!
Ok, so after I escaped out the front door for a second time, I headed off on my 20min drive, bopping along to Destiny’s Child. Thank goodness for some more 90s flashbacks. Having been off work for the last 4 months means I am completely out of sync with today’s top 20. I can no longer match it with my 22 yr old brother when it comes to this week’s charts… Havana Brown would be very disappointed to hear that (cudos to me though for at least knowing that she’s dropped her “DJ” title).
Now you would think that 7.30pm on a Friday night, whilst most other normal people would have lives and be out to dinner with friends, would be a good time to venture out onto a major arterial motorway – hey, I was even going against the peak-hour traffic (since peak “hour” now seems to morphed into 5 hours from 3pm – 8pm). But no…
Before I had even turned right onto the ramp to get down on to said motorway I was stuck behind “Miss Daisy” in her fancy-pancy Lexus. Once we finally did get around I was then left with the awful task of trying to merge (and overtake Miss D) into 100km/hr traffic whilst going almost half that speed.
Not wanting to become road kill, my little Corolla roared into life and leapt forward, matching my own aggression and doing me proud. But then … out of nowhere … we came to a grinding halt. Bugger. I was stuck. Stuck between two exits, on a Friday night, with an hour left before the shop would close and I’d be forced to come back in for my supplies on Saturday morning. No one wants to be in Ikea on a Saturday morning!
As I sat there, in a delirious/angry/down-right-over-this-day trance, a flickering orange light caught my eye. As I stared closer at the reflective panel on the bus about 50m ahead it slowly registered what I was actually seeing… flames. Oh no, a car was on fire!
Finally I, and a hundred other drivers who had been jostling for extra metres, came to the realisation that we would be here awhile. I turned the car off. Thankfully, it took emergency services only half an hour to clear the road and we were on our way again.
As I drove past the burnt out wreckage, the result of some sort of freak collision between 2 cars heading in the same direction, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d just had my very own Gwyneth Paltrow Sliding Doors moment. I was less than 500m from the site of the accident – What if hubby wasn’t late home? What if I hadn’t picked up the wrong car keys? What if that Lexus had’ve merged at full speed?
Unlike the driver of that destroyed car (who I think was ok), my night wasn’t ruined. I was, surprisingly, going to make it to Ikea in time. Nevertheless, such deep, ponderous questions kept me company all the way to the turn off.
And then I pulled up at the lights and gave out a glorious chuckle – I was behind Miss Daisy again…!