I almost drove over the Lollipop lady at Alula’s school. This is quite a remarkable feat considering she is dressed head to foot in luminous yellow and orange and resembles a giant traffic cone (and is also holding a six foot tall lollipop with the word ‘STOP’ emblazoned on it.)
I screeched to a halt inches from her Lollipop holding hand. She froze like a predator in the middle of the zebra crossing and drilled through my skull with her laser gaze. I shrunk back against my seat. ‘Sorry, sorry, so sorry,’ I mouthed through the window.
‘Shit,’ I hiss to John and Alula. ‘Oh god. I almost ran over the lollipop lady.’
John shakes his head at me and smiles apologetically at the lollipop lady. I’m sure he’s rolling his eyes in my direction at her and shrugging as if to say ‘sorry, what can I do?’ For my own part I want to shout: I’ve lived in Bali for five years. I’m struggling to adapt my driving style. I sort of saw you as a giant chicken and thought you might skedaddle out of the way when I hit the gas.
I tap my foot to the gas and trundle across the zebra crossing once she’s given up glaring and stalked back to the relative safety of the pavement. She narrows her eyes at me as we pass and shoots neon death beams my way. I gulp.
‘I was already in her bad books. What am I going to do now?’
Alula starts laughing in the back. It’s true the other day I stepped onto the zebra crossing with Alula before – wait for it drum roll please – before the lollipop lady was in the middle of the crossing.
There were no cars coming and I’ve been crossing zebra crossings my entire adult life without the help of a lollipop person so I didn’t figure it was too much of a problem that she was only a third of the way across. It was though. Very much a problem.
She pursed her lips angrily. I rolled my eyes at Alula (sorry, it’s a reflex action whenever I’m told off and I have zero control over it…honest) and she caught me doing it. I was then on the receiving end of a very stern lecture about road safety.
I don’t know what it is about me and authority. We don’t get on. Never have. But I apologised profusely and scurried off.
But now I really am screwed. It’s one thing to step out onto a zebra crossing before the lady is in the exact middle of the road with her lollipop and quite another to almost run her over in your car.
This morning I tootled past her, keeping my eyes fixed dead ahead as if she was the medusa or a neon basilisk I daren’t look at for fear of being turned to stone.
‘I can’t do this every day,’ I mused to John. ‘It’s too stressful. I’m going to have to do something.’
‘You could apologise and be nice to her,’ John suggested.
I pulled a face. ‘What? Buy her some Quality Street and say ‘sorry I almost ran you over?’’
‘Yeah,’ John says.
I wrinkle my nose. I tried that last time (well not the Quality Street part) and she pretty much took my apology, chewed it up in front of me and spat it out (all without saying a word – in another life I’m sure we could actually be best friends).
So I go home and open up Google maps instead and discover Yay! There’s a back road I can take that means I can avoid the Lollipop lady for the rest of eternity. Phew.