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The van in front had a flat tyre.

It was a bit of a battered beaten up white Ford Transit.
The back left tyre was flat.

We were in a queue and I was watching it as we edged forward.slowly.

What to do?
Should I tell the white van owner?

I have a soft spot for the Ford Transit.
The ford transit van is the back bone of the British Small Scale Theatre Touring Circuit.

For years the feel of a transit seat and steering wheel, these were as emotive to me as the smell of a new roll of Gaffer Tape or the sound of a Mini Mist smoke machine.

You can save the World with a roll of Gaffer tape.
I have seen it used to hold together costumes, sets, vehicles, plumbing, furniture, floor boards, props and just about anything else in a theatre.
I once came in to work on a show and found the safety harness, the one that had been used on an international tour, the one that the performer would do a personal check on each night, the one he hung upside down fourteen feet up above the stage, the harness taht saved his life each night, was held together with gaffer tape.
Not just a little bit, the point in the webbing where the most pressure was, that was where the gaffer tape ‘mend’ was.

Gaffer tape is brilliant.
I may have swapped Gaffer Tape for baby wipes but even to hold a full roll is to know you can take on anything,

The Mini Mist smoke machine is sllightly more obscure to the layman but believe me when I say it is the sound and the smell of late twentieth century theatre.

Transit vans come in around six million different configurations.
I am not making that up but I am quoting the TV show Top Gear so I may have to check my facts.
Actually I will not be checking that fact. It’s Top Gear, it may be fact it may be fiction. Who cares?
Transit vans come in a lot of different configurations.
I do like them though, the first small scale tour I ever did was in one and I drove one for companies for years.
Long wheel base with double doors at the back, sliding door on both sides, semi-high top with a roof rack and removable access ladder by preference.

The one in front was a short wheelbase with a low roof, Sliding door on left, double door at rear, not good for theatre but good for the small tradesman.
This one was white but dented and scratched.
It had lived.

It was a white van and it posed something of a problem.

Driving in Britain is a defensive occupation.
It’s like riding in a lift, you are not supposed to communicate with others.
The only people who communicate with you want ‘something’ and when driving it is usually to offer angry critique as to your ability to function as a human being.
That is not quite true, there is sometimes a flash of lights to say ‘ok, you can come through’ when two cars are at an impasse in the road.
Even this is faintly aggressive, flashing your lights into the oncoming traffic to say they can have right of way seems a bit twisted and unsportsmanlike.
What I really don’t understand at all is the ‘full beam headlight flash’ to say ‘thank you’.
In what company is it ‘polite’ to turn headlights on to full beam in someones face to signify gratitude?

So, I am in a moving queue, following a white van.
I could beep my horn, the British driving equivilent to calling into question the morals of another driver’s Mother.
I could flash my lights, the most polite aggression I could use but it was daylight and unlikely to work.

I had to do the unthinkable.
I stopped, put the hand brake on, left the engine running and the radio on, said goodbye to the Proles in case I never returned.
I waved weakly at the driver behind who, seeing me stop my car in front to of them, regarded me as if I had taken all my clothes off and painted myself blue.

I ran to over towards the van.
Of course it pulled away another couple of car lengths.
Brilliant.
Now I was feeling like a fool, looking like a fool and out of breath.

I tapped on the window and scared the living daylights out of the driver.
Poor man.
I mean you don’t expect to have some panting idiot knock on the door while you are driving.

Me: You have a flat tyre. Ha ha ha.

Why was I laughing? I have no idea…..

Surprised man: Oh. Thanks.

Me: Ok. Bye.

“Ok. Bye”?
All the sumptuous rainbow of English language before me.
“Ok. Bye”

I got back in the car, slipped into gear and tried to catch the back of the queue.

I followed the white Ford Transit with the flat tyre for the next eleven minutes.
He never stopped.
In the end I overtook and tried not to look or make eye contact directly or via the mirror.

Perhaps he did not believe me?

Perhaps he was trans fixed behind the wheel with social anxiety….

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