How a broken-down car led to a global road trip
A fortunate misfortune on hot early summer day inspired a journey of imagination around the world when Shaheryar Malik’s broke down on, a
not so aptly named, Ha-Ha Road in London, England.
After calling for help, Roadside Assistance’s stunned silence followed by peals of laughter compounded the effect of Shaheryar feeling hopelessly stuck. After convincing the operator that the call for help from Ha-Ha Road wasn’t a prank, a recovery truck was arranged.
Shaheryar, sitting behind the steering wheel, decided to change the direction of the situation. By taking control of his frustration, it was transformed into fascination as he decided to get back on the road and carry on the journey virtually.
Heavy Friday evening traffic swept by
as he scrolled, stopping, searching, weaving his way around different countries, continents and hemispheres through bizarre and hilarious streets
on his navigation app.
In a quintessentially British way, Sorry Lane led to a complete dead end apologised for in advance by the name, and This Way Road was confusingly a dual carriageway, leading not only this way, but also that way. A turn down Right Road led to a charmingly named Miracle Centre.
What Road brought him back to the conversation on the phone with Roadside Assistance. He contemplated the strangeness of being able to become completely lost in a tangle of streets via a GPS designed to do the complete opposite.
The technology that’s supposed to keep us on the right track as we travel in our cars was the medium that allowed Shaheryar to forget his frustration. Being trapped in the car on a Friday evening forced the artist to slow down and see the humour in the situation. To appreciate the ability to drive and travel as freely as we do in the age of technology, with no fear of becoming lost or disconnected. To use the technology available to explore, to learn, to reignite imagination rather than just blindly following prompts from an anonymous monotone voice.
His travels came to end when the breakdown service truck with flashing lights pulled up behind him. In the end, the car was deemed irreparable and taken to be crushed. Though it didn’t move an inch during those three hours, it took him on a magic-carpet style journey around the world and on roads he would have never otherwise travelled on.