THE TRANSFORMATION OF JOHN GENTLE – WHITE VAN DRIVER & POET

transit man

I’d always lead a quite sheltered life caring for my beloved aged parents from the day I finished school until the sad day they died together fighting over who would and who would not get first dibs on the new Stannah Stair lift. Tragic really.  For a little while thereafter I carried on as usual doing bits and pieces; this and that. Pruning the roses and vacuuming though that did not seem sufficient for a 40 year man who had never had a job or indeed a girlfriend for that matter – not even a friend to speak of.  Still I was well read and academically certainly no fool plus my passion for writing poetry a small consolation for all the things I had missed out on in life.

The thing was that even though I’d inherited the house – a charming country cottage in a quintessentially English village – and now had a good few bob in the bank I felt something was missing.  It dawned upon me that the gap in my life was that of never having experienced gainful employment.  I mean if I had a job I would likely meet people as well as having a purpose for being.  Yes I thought I will get one!

With this in mind I popped into town and had a word with the nice people at the Job Centre. Ever so helpful they were. As soon as they heard I had a driving licence they put me in touch with J & H Tomato Distributors who as good fortune would have it had an urgent vacancy to fulfil as a van driver – it seems the previous chap was now serving a custodial sentence for manslaughter following a road traffic incident.  Whatever, I attended the interview and was duly appointed as a delivery driver, my role being that of simply dropping off crates of tomatoes at various greengrocers and market places about the district.  Perfect!

On the Monday morning I turned up at the depot and the boss, Charlie Sheaths handed me the keys to a brand new Ford Transit van, white in colour and duly sign written with the firm’s logo – it seems the old van had been written off by my predecessor. Charlie told me to load up the crates then gave me a list of the establishments I should attend to effect delivery of the tomatoes. My van even had satellite navigation meaning there was no chance of me getting lost.

By way of a parting shot Charlie said, “Take care John things…….odd things really……..can happen to a man in the cab of a white van………just be yourself and you should be alright.”

I wondered what Charlie meant for a moment then proceeded about my business.

I slipped the vehicle into first gear and pulled out onto the highway. I noticed to my delight that just ahead of me was little Maisie Nutkins, a kindly old dear with never a bad word for anyone driving her ancient little Vauxhall thingamajig. The strangest thing happened though for in an instant I found I was driving at bumper to bumper; flashing my headlights and tooting the horn like billy-o. As we both took the slip road off onto the dual carriageway I even opened the passenger side window of the van and bellowed at Maisie, “Can’t you drive you fucking old cow………you were going so fucking slow you stupid old bitch I was thinking of running alongside and asking you to speed up.” With that I gave her the full double barrel of hand signals namely the sign of ‘wanker’ swiftly followed by the traditional ‘two finger V’. I noticed that Maisie was dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief as I over took her.  I really didn’t know what had come over me for I had never – not even once – used a swear word in my life.

My first port of call was at Mr Patel’s Corner Shop. I pulled up; exited the van and took in his order. “I say Mr Patel what a neat and tidy establishment you have here. You must be really proud…..and Mrs Patel how beautiful you look this fine spring morn.” The Patel’s offered me a cup of tea I politely declined yet thanked them from the bottom of my heart and set off with haste for the next delivery. What jolly nice people I thought to myself.

Once ensconced in the van again I came up to the roundabout the edge of the village whereupon I spotted a young learner taking his driving test.  As he slowed down approaching the roundabout I felt compelled to cut him up thus ensuring he failed his test.  I did indeed cut him up with some aplomb as the car he was driving mounted the pavement taking out a cyclist who, from the glimpse I got in my rear view mirror looked to have taken a very bad tumble indeed what with his severed head rolling into the gutter –and not before I had, upon passing the young chap and tester bellowed out the words, “That’s fucked you…….tosser.”  This was not like me at all.

Whatever, I dropped off the order at the Spar Shop and even had a chat with the lady behind the counter Ethel. Asked how her hubby was……..had he recovered from his hernia op…..just making the time of day really. Ethel seemed delighted I had shown such an interest in the old boy’s plight.

Thereafter I had a longish drive to the Farm Shop in the next village.  Driving along an open road as I was I spotted a lovely looking girl, scantily clad walking along the pavement.  I slowed as I passed and wound down the window finding myself shouting, “Couldn’t have a feel of your tits luv could I…….cor if you’re thinking of drowning them puppies I’ll take them off your hands……….know what luv you’ve got an arse like jelly on springs – don’t fancy a swifty in the back of me van do yer,” followed by a wolf whistle I never knew I was capable of! Never in my life had I spoken to any person thus let alone a young lady. What a to-do.

The last job was further away still and I needed to take the motorway to get there.  Now I’ve always held the view that when driving one should keep strictly to the rules of the Highway Code yet here I was in the fast lane stuck behind a Maserati the both of us doing 120 mph.  I was right on his tail yet every time he speeded up I matched him mph for mph.  Soon we were doing 150 mph plus and eventually he pulled over his car having reached the limit of its capabilities.  I really had no idea a Ford Transit could go quite so fast – I must add that I mouthed that awful ‘c’ word I’ve always hated at the other driver as I passed him.

Back at base I told Charlie what a wonderful day I had had yet expressed also my concern that once in the cab of the van I seemed to transform into another, not very nice person.  Charlie told me not to over worry and that it happens to everyone who drives white Ford Transit vans. Crikey I thought that’s very is outlandish.  Still, once home I got out pen and paper and wrote a poem about my first day at work.

ODE TO A WHITE VAN MAN 

I drive a white Ford Transit

It drives just like a dream

Yet when close to other motorists

Fuck me I rant and scream

 

The most vile obscenities

So as to ruin their day

Young or old they don’t escape

The things I have to say

 

I called vicar an old tosser

Asked a girl for a feel of her tits

Scared the shit out of an old lady

I really am the pits

 

So should you spot me on the road

Stuck right up your arse

Best you just pull over and

Let my fucking transit pass 

Well best get off to bed now – got a long day tomorrow!

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15 thoughts on “THE TRANSFORMATION OF JOHN GENTLE – WHITE VAN DRIVER & POET

  1. Superb, Mike. I laughed out loud from start to finish! Started with the wonderfully lugubrious parental death and carried on from there. Thanks for cheering me up so splendidly! Great photo btw!

      1. Possibly the white van is an extension of an appendage giving rise to an overdose of testosterone – or similar! Thinking about it and although not as base young me in sports cars transform once at the wheel!

  2. A Jeckyl and Hyde if I do say so myself. I have to say, not unlike myself in a car or many other people who beep and honk and cut each other off but would never do so (be so rude that is) if not in the safety of their own car.

  3. I have a bit of a secret feeling that there are some men in the UK who do lead that sort of sheltered life, pruning roses in an inherited garden and such. Personally, I think they should keep doing it, LOL–I have never thought work does much good for anyone!

    1. Agree with you – the only benefit of having worked at a thing one didn’t care for that much is to learn that there are better things. ‘Tis a shame we need an income really.

  4. Wow. Do you think the tomato delivery business will pay enough for him to buy his own straight jacket or will he have to take the standard issue once he’s committed to the asylum? LOL! This one was superb, and I also love the picture you selected to start it off. 🙂

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