Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon


general 2 min read

Today is apparently a public holiday (I say “apparently” as I don’t keep track of such things; I’m never at home except to sleep anyway, and lately I’m barely even sure which day it is at any given point), and it’s also a Friday, so the motorway was actually almost empty this morning. I never dropped below the speed limit at any point in my journey, and naturally most of the time I was significantly exceeding it. I was up late again last night, unsurprisingly. Didn’t leave the lab until about 10:30 pm, and it was after 1 am before I got to bed. Up again at 6:15 am as usual, and on the road for 7 am. I expected traffic to be lighter anyway since it’s a Friday, but only as I fed onto the M8 did I remember today was a holiday. Miles upon miles of the fast lane, all practically empty. There’s something about a motorway blast first thing in the morning that has a way of clearing away tiredness and lifting your mood for the day.

Combine that with a bit of Van Halen playing, a clear blue sky in the morning sun, and my having had the presence of mind to bring along a bottle of water straight from the fridge, and it all adds up to an almost magical, spiritually cleansing experience. High speed and some creative lane discipline help a lot too.

Now here I am in the lab at just past 8 am (having by no means only just arrived), and the city is coming to life below. It’s actually been a week of great driving experiences, since the other night when I was going home at around 11:15 pm or so, I was approaching my exit ramp (which lies on a long left-hand bend, where you have to go left twice within a few hundred yards in order to get onto the ramp I take), and I was going sufficiently fast that the centrifugal force on the bend was almost preventing me from actually getting onto the ramp. Fascinating feeling, like there’s an invisible barrier along the side of the motorway.

There are at least two of my female friends who will read this and shake their heads, as they beseech me literally almost daily to please be careful on the roads. A cursory search of my dMSN chatlogs turns up yesterday’s instance, after I’d relayed the above anecdote:

You'd be dead and we'd all have to live without the Mattness; now that's just wrong!

Thing is, I’m a pretty good driver. I know my vehicle’s capabilities and handling like the back of my hand, and whilst I do like to explore the limits of both the car and myself, I’m very confident of my ability to anticipate and avoid dangerous situations, at least so far as you’re able to do so on the roads these days. I’d also note that I drive completely differently when I have a passenger; obeying all speed limits, road traffic laws and conventions of courteous driving.

Though actually, I’d be willing to bet that a few of the folk who have been passengers in my car might dispute that last point. Like Fiona, Lauren, Chris, Jill, my brother… hmm. Though I did drive very safely when Rach was in the car last Friday. So there you have it; Q.E.D.

Maybe it’s best that I don’t reveal to the aforementioned female friends that Stephen and I were talking yesterday at one point about how, secretly, we both hear the Bullitt theme music in our minds whenever we start our cars. God damn right.