We were driving to school. The Monday morning rush hour is, for reasons unknown, an absolute bunfight, quite the worst day of the week to be on the roads. It continues to mystify me that Pakistani people, normally so charming, turn into such monsters when behind the wheel of a car. Somehow the action of sitting behind a steering wheel turns gentle people into fearsome road warriors, beeping and swerving and gesticulating like maniacs. Suddenly my son piped up.
“Why is there smoke coming out of that bus?”.
I explained the basics of the internal combustion engine but he wasn’t listening. Instead his mind veered off on a wild mental tangent, a train of thought just as erratic as the driving of the cars around us.
“If you get hit by a car your body will be broken and you will be died”.
“If you become died then you will not breathe any more”.
“Or you might have a broken arm or leg like the people asking for money at traffic lights”.
There followed a pause as he and his sister digested these thoughts. Then:
“Daddy, turn the AC up”.
“Well, we don’t want to get too cold. It’s cool enough as it is”.
“Can you die from being too cold?”.
“Well, only if you fall asleep in the snow. Then you might die”.
A shocked silence, presumably as visions of ice-encased corpses drifted before the fevered imaginations of my tiny children. Then:
“TURN THE AC OFF! TURN THE AC OFF! WE’RE GOING TO DIE! WE’RE GOING TO DIE!”.