A newspaper article the other day reported on a survey into the respective rudeness of swear words.
As a family publication we will spare you the details, but the survey found **** was more offensive than ****, but less so than ****, while **** is apparently more palatable than ****. All total ******** if you ask me because I thought **** was worse than **** and better than ****, but what the **** do I know?
Anyway, it wasn’t the survey’s findings that interested me about the story, but the picture the paper had used to illustrate it. It was a photo of somebody sitting in a car, looking furious. There was a fist wave and everything. Because, as we all know, nobody is as sweary as when they are in their car, right?
Right. The reasons are legion and well documented. In a car, you’re mixing with people you wouldn’t usually mix with. Complete randoms. Total strangers from different communities and they are, simply, interrupting you and your loved ones’ existences as they get in the way, fail to indicate, push in front of you in a queue, and so on and so forth.
Yes, sometimes you’ll be held up or people will get in your way in pedestrian life, too; in the supermarket, perhaps, or at a queue in the pub, but it’ll be your supermarket, your pub, just like it is theirs. You share values and, more important, eye contact with such people, and antagonisms are avoided. Plus there’s the vulnerability of not being in a tonne and a half of fairly well-insulated galvanised steel within which, obviously, nobody can hear you being rude.
Thus I like to imagine denuding myself of the steel and imagining myself in a supermarket or, better still, the pub, even when I’m driving, thus retaining my inner peace and tranquillity even when other people’s driving incompetence is stealing my time and bringing me closer to death while I sit doing nothing – literally the most heinous crime in the world.
But when frustration strikes at that, I imagine that their dawdling and uncertainty is perhaps like they’re deciding whether to have Quavers or pork scratchings in the Barley Mow. That is a dilemma to which we can all relate. Which is why I never get angry in the car, and certainly never, ever swear.
How to fail your MOT
There’s a radio advert doing the rounds at the minute for eBay Motors, proclaiming it to be ‘the ultimate get-your-car-through-an-MOT shop’, or something. I forget.
The advert features this bloke demonstrating what he has bought off of the internet to get his car through its MOT test. For reasons that will become clear in a minute, I don’t remember exactly what most of them are: light bulbs, seatbelts, round wheels, I don’t even know.
But I do remember the last item on his shopping list. “Press that,” he says smugly to an unknown listener, whereupon a button is pressed and a car horn plays the opening two bars of ‘La Cucaracha’.
Which, as any fule kno, would be an immediate MOT test failure. You know I claimed never to get angry in my car? I’m sure the punch marks will come out of my steering wheel and the asterisks will fall from the rooflining soon.