For 18 years Mug had been throwing the monsters into the car and traveling a mighty long distant to see her very own Mug. Without ever really noticing it, traveling with her brood had changed over the years and had settled into an almost silent trance for the three and a half hours that it took.
In the last five years it was settled and agreed among monsters and Mug that Roo would sit in the front of the car to avoid pissing everyone off with her demands of ‘move over! I’ve only got this much room’ or ‘I need more food from the bag.’ All Mug heard now was the occasional sound of music coming from Roo’s earphones while the others slept peacefully heaped upon each other in the back of their clapped out Corsa. This was both great and boring at the same time.
On one particular journey back to the West, Mug crawled along the M3 when Roo asked ‘how long until we are at Fleet?’ ‘I have no idea’ Mug said, for Mug’s ability to predict ETAs had been obliterated by the fucking so called ‘Smart-Motorway’ which had been under way on the M3 for what felt like forever. Once upon a time, Mug reliably knew that it took a whole hour to get from home to Fleet Services; that was two whole carrier bags of crisp, chocolate, crumpled sandwiches and juice cartons which obviously had to be devoured in time for the monsters to declare that they were starving and needed a Mc Donalds at Fleet. ‘They’ve been building this motorway for ages’ exclaimed Roo; Mug felt proud that Roo had applied some critical thinking skills and had consciously/unconsciously taken note of how fucking long it was taking – and that’s coming from a child.
‘I know it’s taking ages; there’s nothing smart about more tarmac and some orange cones and hundreds of 50mph signs and….’
‘YOU DO KNOW I’VE GOT MY EARPHONES IN AND I CAN’T HEAR YOU’ bellowed Roo who wasn’t the slightest bit interested in Mug’s musings.
Mug mused some more about the old signage which appeared years ago picturing two smiling young kids which said: ‘Our dad works on this motorway’ and wondered if their dad really did work on this motorway or were they stock images from Google and if they weren’t stock images then where was their dad because she couldn’t see anyone doing any actual work and thought it was slightly taking the piss that a job could take this long. Mug wondered if a team of Doozers* existed in real life, who came out in the dead of night to read all these road signs and do the work for the men who just liked to mount signs and look at them. Maybe the children’s dad was a Doozer and that’s why they looked so happy.
When at Fleet Mug and the back seat monsters unfurled themselves from their cramped conditions, while Roo checked her eyebrows were on fleek and her cheeks perfectly contoured to go for a wee. ‘Can we have a Frap’ asked the Pickle who had a penchant for the overpriced iced coffee. ‘Can I have one too’ ‘and me.’ A chorus echoed around Mug while she tried not to trip up the steps with her half asleep legs: ‘No one is having a bloody Frap; you can have a cheap drink from Mc Donalds’ ‘Can I have a Frap from M cDonalds’ asked the Pickle still intent on having the most expensive drink listed – ‘I’ll see when we’ve been to the loo.’
Leroy and Dude waited in the small foyer bit to the loos and leant against the wall while the others went in. Mug and the girls came out: ‘Mug you’ll never guess what just happened: me and Dude were leaning against the wall waiting for you and after a while someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was waiting for the loo, so I turned around to tell them ‘no’ and no word of alie, about 15 people had been queuing up behind us!’ They all laughed at the superbly British people who frequented Fleet Services and who threw themselves into the great British activity of queuing for absolutely no reason.
A Mc Donald’s breakfast and one Frap saw them back on the road and stuck on the not very smart motorway while Mug searched for the ‘303 exit and the lovely faster moving dual carriageway. All was going well until they hit THE roundabout; this meant only one thing – the impending one hour crawl from one side of Stonehenge to the other. People who really, REALLY gripped Mug’s shit were drivers who couldn’t read road signs. Mug prided herself on but a few things, but reverse/parallel parking and reading road signs featured highly at the top of the list: ‘USE BOTH LANES WHEN QUEUING.’ Pretty simple Mug thought – use both lanes in heavy traffic so the roundabout keeps functioning. Rocket science not. Mug pulled into the outside lane which was included in the ‘both lanes’ description. She crawled along looking for a break in the left lane to pull over, but angry cars kept nose to bumper refusing to let Mug in: ‘let me in you div’ yelled Mug ‘you’re gonna have to let me in at some point’ but still the drivers refused to make eye contact and let Mug in. ‘Shut up Mug; they can’t hear you’ said a monster from the back. Thirty minutes later when the lanes really did merge, the drivers begrudgingly let Mug join the now single lane and Mug drove off not giving a fuck and never saw any of the angry drivers ever again in her life.
*From Fraggle Rock