On Reflection, It Was a Bad Idea!


The traffic light turned red, the brakes whistled, everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at me. I wished I was invisible.

Driving home from a failed shopping expedition to Milton Keynes on Saturday, Julie decided she was going to buy the huge eight foot by three foot mirror she’d seen in Vinegar Hill in Hitchin town centre. We got there, Julie paid for it and then we tried to get it into our two seater convertible.

I was glad I’d parked nice and close, if illegally, in the alleyway next to the shop. The mirror was an awkward thing to carry but the two of us managed to ‘Chuckle Brother’ it to the alley.

When we got to the car, it didn’t look like it was going to fit at first. It became obvious that if we did get it in there, there’d be no room for Julie. It was a nice day, we don’t live that far away, so she agreed to walk.

With the roof down, it was still a bit of an effort, especially as the mirror was wrapped in cardboard making it even bigger. I eventually wrestled it in by twisting it, wedging it in diagonally on it’s end with it sticking out toward the back of the car at an angle of about 45 degrees, it looked awkward. The only thing that size and roughly that shape that might have looked cool sticking out of a convertible would have been a surf board. I wouldn’t be fooling anyone, Hitchin is nowhere near the coast and not even the daggiest surfer would wrap his board in corrugated cardboard and packing tape.

The mirror was so big, I couldn’t see past it when I looked left. I figured as long as no traffic approached from that side and it didn’t rain, I’d be fine. I knew if I got stopped by the police I would definitely get a ticket but we lived so close to town, the chances of a cop seeing me would be slim. It was Saturday afternoon, people are busy shopping, why would anyone be looking at traffic? No one is going to see me and call the police! 

Julie set off for home on foot and I drove down the alley towards Bancroft, Hitchin’s main shopping street. As I touched the brake pedal to stop and turn onto the main road the brakes whistled (I’d been meaning to get them looked at). The alley acted like a megaphone, amplifying the high pitched screech, adding echo and funnelling it out into the road. It was prime time for shoppers, the town was packed. EVERYONE looked and then stopped in their tracks when they saw what must have looked like a float looking for a parade.

The traffic cleared and I pulled out. If I could just make it home without having to touch the brakes again, I’d be fine. I got about ten feet before the lights at the pelican crossing changed to red, the brakes whistled to tell everyone the show had started and confused pedestrians stared, pointed and shook their heads.

This happened at EVERY set of traffic lights between Vinegar Hill and our block of flats. The good new is that it didn’t rain, I wasn’t stopped by the police and the mirror made it home in one piece. 

I know you get seven years bad luck if you break a mirror but I didn’t realise until Saturday that if you drive with a big one sticking out of a convertible, you get bad luck at the next seven sets of traffic lights.

Craic on!

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