‘Top Gear’: Unfortunately, I’m a Backward-leaning Jeremy Clarkson
Before anyone in the U.S. asks who this Jeremy Clarkson fella is, know that petrol heads in your country know exactly who he is. Indeed, the Brit motoring show “Top Gear,” at its height a few years ago, made him and his fellow presenters stars the world over. It was like Charlie Chaplin recognition — cars were not silent, but they spoke to everyone no matter their language.
Now, I have a history of being somewhat gung-ho with my own mean machine: my wheelchair. The first time was in the back of my van, where I figured I could go a short distance without being tied down, forgetting that there were incredibly steep hills where we were, at the seaside. Then later I went too fast into my optician’s. Maybe I just couldn’t see where I was going?
Now this. I was in top gear of 5, as I was wheeling late to my exercise class. My carers had been extremely late. Not their fault — the whole system is under considerable strain because of Brexit. Many European Union nationals have now said “sayonara,” in their own European languages, of course. Why I picked Japanese is just another example of my hazy knowledge of linguistics. Or just bad writing.
Anyhoo, for someone who watches these progs, you’d have thought that the idea of torque would be understood. Taking it carefully up a steep incline doesn’t matter when the rotational force is so strong. That’s why electric cars are faster from a standing start than their petrol equivalents. So I ended up in a wheelie for many seconds, maybe even a minute. In another life, now was the time to start a bit of juggling!
In hindsight, maybe I should have gone forward, dropped down gears, grabbed onto the side. Instead, I chose to slowly retreat backward. As I got to the bottom, I finally tipped in the same direction.
There were upsides to this downside. There were loads of physiotherapists inside, dripping with specialist equipment. And at least there was now some room to work in. If I’d fallen farther up the narrow path — eeek! Now, I could be helped to slide out over the backrest and end up in the car park. The physios had also just had an emergency training session on the Monday, and it was now Thursday, so they were itching to really give it a go.
Somewhat in shock, I completely forgot to ask my wife to take a picture of this all-action scene. Sorry, my journo senses were turned off. Probably why I’d given up that whole career in the first place. See my brief bio at the bottom of this column if you’d like to delve.
It did leave me wide open first thing the next morning.
Jane, my wife of nearly 30 years, pointed out my carers were coming in an hour earlier. Much panic from me. The care company had phoned during my accident. Jane said she told me afterward. I had no memory. She hit me with her final knockout-uppercut, “You just never listen to me.”
This, unfortunately, is a truism. I continued to panic.
“Er, John, what day is this?”
It was Friday … April 1. Duuuuuuuh.
Not only had she got me, I later asked my carers what the weather was like. They told me it was snowing. I jovially swore at both of them. They’d finished, so I went to the window.
It was snowing.
I apologized, then, sotto voce, swore at myself.
That was two days running I’d made a right bottom out of myself!
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