Magda is nothing if not emphatic.
‘Fucking hell! Would it kill them to indicate sometime? How you supposed to know what they going to do at roundabout? I’m not kidding. What do they think I am? Fucking mind-reader?’
She drives on.
‘My father was traffic cop. He made it a big thing to learn. He say to me “It doesn’t matter if it’s one, two, three o’clock in morning and no-one on road for miles. You make manoeuvre, you indicate. Because this way it becomes automatic habit, and you do it whenever you drive, without thinking.’
She’s forced to give way to an on-coming car.
‘Jesus fucking bastard! Sorry – I know is bad to swear. But please! Who teach these people to drive? Fucking clown?’
Later on, we’re drinking coffee in a service station.
‘How old are you?’ she says, giving me a sideways look, then twisting the lid off her cup and blowing across the top.
‘Fifty-two? Jesus Christ! You could be my father!’
‘You don’t look fifty-two,’ she says, biting the end off a croissant and chewing vigorously. ‘What you do before this job?’
‘Well – I was ten years in the ambulance. Before that I was teaching English in a secondary school for a couple of years. Before that I was temping. Different companies, some for a couple of years. I worked for a publishing house in London. A warehouse, office jobs, a couple of bars. I went to university and did English and Drama there.’ I shrug, helplessly. ‘That kind of thing. You know.’
I want to tell her I tried acting for a while, but I imagine it would just add to the generally dispiriting account of my career to date, so I leave it out and sip my coffee instead.
‘You travel?’ she says.
‘No. Not really. I wanted to.’
‘No travel? What about drugs? You do drugs?’
‘Some. Not much.’
‘Hm,’ she says, finishing the croissant, smacking her hands clean and taking up her coffee again.
‘You telling me, not much.’