It’s funny how your behaviour changes when you’re being watched!
For the last 6 weeks I’ve been spending one day a week working in Blenheim.
The hour and a half haul over the Whangamoa’s and Rai Saddle to the Wairau Plains beyond might be a pain for some, but I love it. I like driving and I like time on my own –my thoughts meandering meaninglessly, but always eventually finding and focusing on something worth some more thought.
Yesterday was different, alas.
From the moment I passed through Hira (15km north of Nelson) I knew I was in trouble. A police car pulled out from the gravel on side of the road and pulled in behind me. There were no sirens or lights, no hint of having done anything wrong. No, he just sat a safe distance behind me, the two of us travelling together, me leading a very uncomfortable convoy.
I’m not a great driver, but I am a good driver and I like to think I’m a safe driver. But by being watched my judgement started to err, my ability to keep the car on the left side of the centre lane started to fade. My speed – usually a stock steady standard of 95km per hour started to vary. I was now travelling either too fast or too slow. My use of the mirrors increased tenfold.
Mindless meandering took a back seat – there was no way I could afford to drift off, I was focused, I was being watched. Then the perversity of the situation dawned on me, I had done nothing wrong, I was a good driver, and the policeman, well he was probably just travelling to Blenheim to do some work, just like me.
Nether-the-less I was thrilled when the policeman overtook me near Canvas town. Obviously I was going to slow!
The next time I saw him was ten minutes later in Havelock. As usual I had skipped breakfast earlier and needed some nourishment. I stopped off at a Café and bought a sandwich. As I walked in I noticed about six young Japanese Backpackers, they were deep in conversation and obviously very interested in the policeman who was sitting at a table opposite. He was same policeman who had followed me.
I nodded, “Gidday”, I said.
“Gidday”, he said, nodding back in reply.
After collecting and paying for my sandwich, I turned and walked out. Not before noticing the policeman drop a mouth full of Sausage Roll onto his starched, clean navy blue tunic. Flakes of pastry making themselves at home on his uniform and tomato sauce smearing itself into the fabric.
The Japanese back packers giggled.
Obviously the policeman didn’t like being watched either!