Maureen’s fear of driving had never abated, and her foot constantly rode the brake of her two-year-old ’62 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. She had had the brake lights replaced twice. The mechanic didn’t know about Maureen’s bad habit and chalked it up to bad bulbs, missing an opportunity to warn her about the impending consequences of her actions.

Inevitably the day came when it did not matter how hard Maureen pushed the brake pedal or how near to the floor it came: the car would not stop. She was too flustered to think to use the parking brake or to shut the car off. Death and property destruction ensued, but Maureen survived and was released from the hospital after two weeks.

Maureen finally embraced the bitter truth: even when using the brake full time, driving was – for her – unsafe. From now on, she vowed, on those occasions when she had to go beyond walking distance, she would rely on her lucky friends and on taxi drivers.

Some people just seemed to float through traffic, leading charmed lives, never suffering the problems of ordinary folks. It wasn’t fair, she muttered, but that was life.