Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Care in the Community moves to the Automobile

"No one can drive in Surrey!” It's something I've proclaimed many times, usually without any real basis. Except for the fact that all the natives appear to have a complete inability to park of course, but that's common knowledge. By park, I mean park in a way that is considerate of others know... in a parking space. As opposed to across it. I'm fairly sure those lines are there as more than a vague suggestion.

Anyway. Now I have proof. Last Thursday I had to go up to Birmingham, the flatmate drove very early and we arrived in a couple hours. Then we head back, all is well til we hit the Car Park that is the M25, which has ground to a halt thanks to a road accident by the Leatherhead junction. We sit on this road for an hour or so before deciding to try an alternate route.

At this point the whole journey starts to become a little like Paper Boy, the further along the road we got the more obstacles there were. OK, there was some rain (quite heavy) which obviously means the entire county grinds to a halt. Rain is such a rare thing in this country.

So we crawl along this road, passing bizarre scenes as we go by. You know normal stuff that makes you wonder why there isn't an exam that people are forced to take before being allowed to contribute to the gene pool.

The 4x4 BMW that forces its way into traffic from out of an Estate only to stop 100 yards down the road to drop off a teenager. I hasten to add here that I do mean 'Stop', not 'Pull over'. In fact the stopping in the middle of the road thing became an increasingly recurring theme; I can only imagine that indicator bulbs are incredibly expensive down here. I only picked the 4x4 because people who do not live in rural areas shouldn't be allowed to have them - there is no rational justification for having a car designed to go off-road when you never intend to do so. Buy a people carrier you arrogant wankers. And before people bang on about how much safer 4x4s are (SUVs to you Americans, though not entirely sure where the 'Sports' comes into it unless sitting on your fat arse has become a sport while I wasn't looking), it's proven that people carriers are as safe, in many cases safer, than 4x4s. Especially for your passengers and in particular for people you hit with your car. Which you will by the way. It does appear to be a legal requirement to drive like a blind Italian sociopath when you own one of these things.

Let me put it another way. If you hit a 10 year old in your 4x4 (good chance as you'll probably be doing that 50 yard school run) doing 30 miles an hour, it will almost certainly die. Buy a proper car and it won't.

Anyway, I digress. We continue along, seeing various sites. Including the taxi driver whose car had clearly broken down but rather than pulling over he carried on with the 'sitting in the middle of the road' theme. In a cunning effort to escape the wrath of other drivers, he had moved over to the passenger side in order to appear like an innocent and abandoned party.

As we drew nearer Leatherhead, we passed a van that had chosen to park on a narrow corner with half its arse stuck out in the road, a few more stopped in the middle of the road cars and some of the most bizarre road planning I have ever seen. Driving along, we'd suddenly see a concrete island blocking half the road, creating a bottle neck. No schools, houses, towns or anything remotely living in sight.

Anyway, that's pretty much the journey back on Thursday check out a report I got on Friday from intrepid reporter Rob:
He spots a Range Rover on his way back from work Thursday night. There is a Fire engine trying to get past on an emergency. So why has this Range Rover still got its arse in the middle of the road? When it pulled over it was confronted with a grass bank and the owner didn't want to go up it. Let me recap. The driver didn't want this off road vehicle near any grass.

Finally. I promise this is the last of it. Finally, I get up Saturday morning and look out my window just in time to see a man in a Yaris ever so slowly pull into a parking spot, straight into a road sign. He got out of his car, ignored the vast dent that now occupied his bonnet, picked up the bits that had fallen of his car and chucked them on the back seat. He then went off to the shop. It just looked like it had happened so often he treated as part of his routine when doing the shopping:

  1. Go to shops

  2. Crash Car

  3. sausage, bacon, eggs

  4. go to garage

  5. crash again

  6. leave car for repair

  7. get courtesy car

  8. See 2

Now this has been a long post, but I assure you that these are just the highlights from a passenger’s perspective, Thursday through to Saturday last week. The only logical explanation is that in Surrey driving licenses are handed out in Kinder Surprise Eggs.


Olivia said...

Woo, grumpyyyy...

lunaliar said...

Now, there are poor drivers in Dallas, but none that run directly into a street sign and do nothing but pick up the broken bits and scurry off. Mostly, they'll get out, stomp and yell about "How dare the city put a sign so close to parking that it may obstruct my safe exit! *@#^%)(@#%&)(#@*$&_@#(!" And then, of course, insurance must be called, the police and any lawyer friends to make sure that there is fair grounds to sue the city for a very, very dumb mistake that dented the idiot's Mercedes. God help us...

Olivia said...

Luna - the Brits have traditionally been good at grinning and bearing it. They're the ones who live on the island and got invaded and conquered throughout history and never won.

Americans are different, they're the pioneers who explored and made a new start and then fought hard for independence and won. Bound to be another mind set.

MattJ said...

I think that's a little strong lol! When was the last time Britain was invaded and conquered? If you go back that far you can pretty much say the same of every country on Earth, including America which was obtained, off the previous inhabitants, through the 'Pioneering' use of Genocide, backstabbing, theft and treachery. Also I think you are doing the French a disservice, without whom there would likely have been no independent America.

Americans are different, in some ways the difference is inspiring. In others it can be seen as an utter disregard for everyone else.

Just like every country.

How did we get on to Britain is crap and America is great? fairly sure I was slagging off southerners, i'm not due to berate Americans for another few days! You've messed up my calendar damnit! :p

MattJ said...

Actually maybe it is a little strong to suggest there would be no USA without the French, it just pisses me off they appear so maligned in the popular US media an the Republican party, yet no mention is made of La Fayette and his invaluable conribution to US independence.

The right result happened in that and the civil war, though being a cynic I have serious reservations about the purported high minded intentions of many involved in both.

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