I was on my usual evening run - sprinting down the last hundred yards or so, visualising the afternoon's excesses melting away, picturing myself in a size 10 skinny jeans, doing my Kelly Holmes imitation - when, at a distance, I spotted an old red VW Golf parked in the middle of the road. The hazard lights were switched off and only the left indicator was blinking. It is a 50 mile zone and I was thinking what an odd place for a car to be parked in. And dangerous too, as other cars seemed to notice the parked car only at a close quarter and were avoiding it narrowly. As I drew nearer, my curiousity was piqued but a recent unpleasant incident alerted me to possible mischief.
I noticed the driver stretching his hand out of the passenger window to draw my attention. I slowed to a jog and carefully peered inside the car. The driver was a 60 plus gentleman with a friendly smile on his face. Hello, he said. Hello, I greeted warily. Don't worry, I'm not a dirty old man, he tried to reassure me. So, you would tell me if you were one?, I wanted to ask but simply nodded. I'm not a dirty old man, he repeated noting my guarded expression. And then, quite unexpectedly he asked me if I had a problem. Did I have a problem with what? I didn't understand what he was getting at. Sorry? Do you have a problem?, he persisted. Problem? No problem. Why do you ask?, I replied still unclear where all this was going. No, he hastened to add before I got the wrong idea, I saw you running very fast. I thought, may be you had an emergency. And I was wondering if I could offer you a lift. His explanation caught me unaware. I grinned stupidly and gently assured him that everything was fine and that I was simply out on a jog. Oh, bless, he smiled before engaging his car in gear. I thanked him profusely and as I saw the red car drive away into the distance, I felt extremely grateful for the crisis I never had. And tears were stinging my eyes.