I was telling you earlier that the Road Safety slogan in days of yore was Friends Don’t Tell Friends They Can’t Drive Because They’re Drunk Because Then Friends Would SHOW Friends How They Actually Drive Very Well When They’re Drunk, Thank You Very Much and this was proven half true one night when I told Tabs he was too drunk to drive and the best thing to do was to let ME drive.
It was true I had been with him all night drinking in Bessie Reitz’s garage opposite the town hall and he could have said the same of me, but it was me talking.
Tabs was perfectly rational and amenable about the suggestion. “Tell you what”, he said, “I’ll drive to the top of 42nd hill and then you can drive”. I was perfectly rational and amenable about that suggestion and we set off down Warden Street. At 190mph.
Tabbo had a green two-door Datsun SSS 1800 (Geoff Leslie called it his “Triple Ess Ess Ess”) and that thing
fucked off went fast. We flew up Forty Two Second at a hell of a rate of knots and I was highly relieved when Tabs pulled over as promised and I proceeded forth at a more sedate pace.
Soon after, I turned into Gailian and the road took a sharp left and I didn’t. Changing down into second I let out the clutch but I hadn’t taken my foot off the gas, so we leapt forward into the only deep ditch in the area. Tabbo bit a huge chunk out of the dashboard. I was OK as the steering wheel stopped me. Seatbelts hadn’t been invented yet (or the wearing of seatbelts hadn’t been invented yet **). So speed hadn’t been the problem after all – it was the sudden stop that dented Tabbo.
Fortunately for us, Pierre had followed us out and took us to hospital where the local vet stitched up Tabbo’s lip and he ended up looking quite handsome after that.
The sudden stop and the hospital afterwards were NOTHING. We now had to face the hard part: Telling Stella. They were in bed in the dark, we couldn’t see them, we could just hear Stella. She asked if we were OK. Hector was silent.
** I looked it up: The first U.S. patent for automobile seat belts was issued to Edward J. Claghorn of New York in 1885.