I can picture clearly my father yelling it was impossible to stop the car and my mother telling me to wind the window down and stick my head out.
I was 9 years old.
I still shudder to think what the car behind us must have thought as I emptied the contents of my stomach at 60 mph.
I used to get terribly carsick as a child, much to the irritation of my parents and my siblings. As one of three children I was supposed to take it in turns to sit in the middle of the back seat, but I would make such a fuss, my brother and sister had to share it, all the time thinking I was just faking.
I never got airsick, seasick, train-sick, or even carsick if I was in the front passenger seat; but stick me in the back of a car for more than 15 minutes and I would be overcome with nausea.
As an adult, the sole driver in the family and more than 22 years experience of sitting behind the steering wheel, I’d all but forgotten this childhood illness.
However, I’ve discovered it’s not a sickness I can confine to the dustbin of memories. It seems I still suffer from it.
And it’s embarrassing.
If I’m travelling anywhere with more than one friend I will always offer to drive, just so as to avoid having to mention it. Sometimes, however, people want to repay what they see as my generosity for shouldering the fuel costs and insist they drive.
Sooner or later I end up in a situation where I have to mumble, “er… do you mind if I sit in the front as I, er… get, er… sickintheback… ”
And I swear, other passengers give me a look like they think I’m faking it, and are swithering as to whether they should challenge what they see as this outrageous claim.
The other night I was given a lift to an event by a couple I’ve only met a few times. The husband was driving and there was no way I could possibly ask the wife to sit in the back.
I took a pair of travel bands – wristbands with a knobbly bit on them that presses into a point on the wrist, which apparently helps with motion sickness – and desperately hoped there wouldn’t be any delays in the 20-minute drive each way.
I managed to just hold out on the way there, but the drive back was appalling.
The road meanders up and down, and round sharp bends, this way and that and with the wild weather the drive took even longer.
My hosts weren’t talking quite loud enough so I had to keep leaning forward to join in the conversation.
No one else ever has the heating set at a temperature I’m comfortable with.
Had the journey taken 5 minutes longer, history would no doubt have repeated itself. Fortunately it was dark, so I think my forced nonchalance wasn’t scrutinized too closely as I climbed out the car and insisted next time I’d be more than happy to drive.
I’ve never understood the desire for a chauffeur. I know if I come into a whole pile of money, I’m buying a 2-seater sports car and it won’t just be a mid-life crisis purchase.