12 January 2007

The V Sign

In England you don't flip people the bird, you flash the V sign instead. It's the same gesture as the Peace sign, but your palm is facing you. It's better if you gesture upwards quickly, in a kind of jerking motion; it makes more of an impact.

I want to give the V sign to drivers here in England all the time.

It's winter now and that means that it starts to get dark at about 4 o'clock PM... on a good day. If it's cold and rainy and grey during the day, it feels like the sun has taken to its bed even earlier. It can be as good as night at 3 in the afternoon.

Dark at 3 PM. Yay!

Tuesday was Stitch 'N Bitch so I drove myself to Lytham - a pretty little village about 15 miles away from where I live. Since we don't meet until 5, the drive now is along a dark, narrow, winding, two-car back country road with a low, brick wall on one side and oncoming traffic on the other.

Now, to get the "feel" of this drive, you have to imagine that you're driving along a two-lane, wending, twisting, undulating country road.
There is no center divider, no barrier of any kind. There are no street lights. Each and every vehicle of oncoming traffic is cutting the corner on each and every curve, crossing the dividing line and driving into your lane. All of them - huge semis, all manner of farm vehicle, souped-up boy racers, hand-powered bicycles, slow-moving Smart cars driven by old people with dodgy reflexes - all of them. Just to save a nanosecond per curve. Damn the fact that to your left is said low, brick wall (masked in places by privet or yew hedges and built, apparently, by Hadrian to keep out advancing Barbarians and errant sheep) separated from you and the road by only the merest lip of a curb. It's like being a newbie NASCAR driver - you'd better know how to hold your line if you want to stay off that wall!

Oh, and did I mention that there is a white Ford Transit van driving so far up your ass that - should you be crazy enough to apply your brakes - you'd be able to see the red tip of the cigarette that the ham-fisted, North Yorkshire lad behind you is smoking and take comfort in the knowledge that he'
s doing so with one nicotine-stained hand because he's using the other to glue a mobile phone to his pasty, cauliflower ear?!

Okay, that's not quite fair... it
could be a Citro├źn Relay.

If it wasn't, like, African plains dark, I'd be flipping people the bird left and right. Wouldn't make any difference - I keep forgetting that I'm supposed to flash the V sign.

No comments: