Of good drivers,football and luck
We are on our way to the athletics center. Me and my four-year old.
“Must we?” he grumbles.
“You don’t want your sister to spend the night out in the field, do you?” I flash the guilt card. He stares at me.
“Do they have beds?” he asks.
Something about the way he asks it tells me he expects an answer. I think of the big green field and the cold granite benches. The MTG athletics center in Mannheim is modest in its appearance. But that is where the modesty ends. It is filled with lean, muscled people in fancy athletics attire with intimidating dreams.
I press the gas pedal and overtake a big red truck and a small blue Fiat.
“We are winning!” the four year old shrieks happily turning to watch the truck and the blue Fiat.
“Mummy you are the best!” he laughs. I watch him from the rear-view mirror and feel myself breaking into a smile. I wonder what his sister would say to that. The last time I asked her about my driving prowess, she had laughed coyly.
That left me both humbled and tickled.
A moment of luck
Back on the road, a traffic light is coming up. This one always takes long. Three minutes, the last time I counted. I slow down. I watch the rear-view mirror again. A Mazda SUV is approaching me. Everyone is manufacturing SUVs.
Everyone is driving SUVs.
In a split-second I realize something else. The Mazda SUV isn’t slowing down.
Didn’t she see the traffic lights turning red? The woman behind the wheel seems to be looking ahead. But she isn’t slowing down. Can’t you see me? I hear myself screaming? My first instinct is to drive over red and escape her. But the cars from the right side are already speeding across.
I look back and do the only thing that seems logical. I press on the horn. The drivers ahead are startled to a screeching halt. The Mazda too. I jump out.
The Mazda is 2 mm behind me.
“Oh God I’m so sorry!! Oh God I didn’t see you!!” the woman driver jumps out crying.
I always thought I would kick ass if someone ever did that to me. But anger is not what I’m feeling now. I just watch her. Speechless and yeah, grateful.
I walk home later in the evening to find Luis Suarez sinking his teeth into an Italian player’s fleshy collar bone. I break into a smile. This is the kind of normalcy I need. An apt reminder that there are things that will never change. Things one can always bank on. Like Luis Suarez and his teeth.
My grudge against Luis Suarez isn’t without reason. His hand play four years ago denied my adopted team Ghana a mighty chance. Adopt. That’s what I do every world cup. I adopt African teams and cheer them passionately, hoping that this time round; luck, prayers, voodoos and good wishes will be enough.
But like I have so far been painfully reminded, luck does have its limits.