SMOTHERING: THE TRANSPORTER

Published February 11, 2018

The suspect, clearly intoxicated on lactose and with novice driving skills, hit full throttle and zoomed past us, dangerously manoeuvring a blind corner and narrowly avoiding brittle barriers. The wheels screeched and the smell of burning rubber filled the air as he made a last-minute turn and lunged towards a concrete wall. The law-enforcer, old, bored and almost comical — that would be me — followed in hot pursuit. It was a dead end now. This high speed chase had come to end. Hah, amateur.

But the driver decided to shift from top gear to reverse, cleverly ducking his head at the last moment, as he disappeared behind a side table and out the other end before he and his four-wheeled drive rode off into the sunset, leaving behind a trail of dust and mess for me to clean up. Oh my God. I’d given birth to a mini Frank Martin — bald, gruff, driving a four-wheeler at impossible speeds. All that was missing to add insult to injury was a smart one-liner and a theme song. I’m glad we’re still on monosyllables.

Whose idea was it to hand him a vehicle this young anyway? Oh right. That would be me, since my arm and shoulder were beginning to beg for some physiotherapy but more so because the tortoise, with his hobbit-inspired fingernails, refused to walk to places and I was running embarrassingly low on pants that hadn’t faded or weren’t worn off at the knees.

A toddler in his walker imagines he is no less than a Formula 1 champion

Frank here embraced his new-found purpose, donned his black bodysuit and zoomed around the hallways like he owned the place. Which, of course, he did. Like the real Transporter, he was a man of few words but unlike the real Transporter, this driver had only one rule: ‘Ride at breakneck speed.’ He believed in letting his instincts guide him, even off cliffs, because the laws of physics did not apply to him.

In the beginning there were accidents, and near-accidents. There’s a reason why these contraptions are banned in Trudeau’s Canada. Figuring out that he could get away ‘with’ and also ‘from’ a lot, the tiny Toretto embraced his 10-second car and we would find ourselves at the starting line of another drag chase or a cardio workout. Whatever you would prefer to call it.

Well, at least he was ready for the streets, albeit a decade or two early.

The suspense is killing me and has me on the edge of my seat with the foot on the brake. It is also enough to drive me crazy to the point of considering the possibility off my toddler being better-suited for the task. Unnerved and unscathed, he would swerve around like a blind minibus driver navigating the labyrinth of Saddar, squeezing himself through the tightest of spots and honking his way out of the crowd. Impatient and with an unsound understanding of suspensions and physics of motion, our grumpy little Fred Flintstone would often be frustrated at a stubborn ottoman that just wouldn’t move out of his way. Yep, he was the perfect Pakistani driver in the making.

May be I could place his car seat in the driver seat instead of the back and just let him take the wheel.

Driving around the city had given me enough anxiety already. It was nothing less than a stress test simulation for me. Pedestrians ignorant of the concept of inertia and the notions of time-displacement would often fling themselves in front of fast-approaching cars to test the alertness and agility of the drivers. Forget indicating or giving the driver behind you a heads-up, some drivers and their broken tail-lights have full faith in the element of surprise.

Will he go left?

Will he turn right?

Wait, is he braking?

Indicate, people! The suspense is killing me and has me on the edge of my seat with the foot on the brake. It is also enough to drive me crazy to the point of considering the possibility off my toddler being better suited for the task. Unnerved and unscathed, he would swerve around like a blind minibus driver, navigating the labyrinth of Saddar, squeezing himself through the tightest of spots and honking his way out of the crowd. Impatient and with an unsound understanding of suspensions and physics of motion, our grumpy little Fred Flintstone would often be frustrated at a stubborn ottoman that just wouldn’t move out of his way. Yep, he was the perfect Pakistani driver in the making.

Now if only I could get him to sit in his car seat: a challenge on its own. Apart from the primary caretaker, I was also employed part-time as the human car seat, the human booster seat, the human bouncer and the human high chair. And in some extreme cases, as an emergency wet wipe. I’m not proud of it, but when it comes to discipline, we are as desi as it gets.

But for now, we’re still waiting and chasing. Baby steps, right?

Published in Dawn, EOS, February 11th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...