Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The paramour is a gentleman, there are no if ands or buts about it. He's charming, affable, rather kind, holds steadfast values, and is generally a delight to be around.
Right up until the moment he gets behind the steering wheel of a car.
Then he becomes his Pappy.
His Pappy is also a gentleman, old school, a softly spoken sort of a man, would do anything for you, cooks a mean Sunday dinner, charming, affable, and an absolute delight to be around
Right up until the moment he gets behind the wheel of a car.
Then he becomes, well, anti-pappy.
My best friend, who is heavily pregnant right now, is a small fierce lady, loyal, funny, eccentric, easily amused, highly flammable.
Right up until she gets behind the steering wheel of a car.
Then she becomes the Incredible Hulk, flaring up and down as she races across the country side at speeds-and in heels- forumla one drivers can only dream of.
My own mother, the Lilac Couch, is psychotic, tearful, lilac wearing, funny, batshit insane, amusing in a non related way.
Right until she gets behind the wheel of her car.
Then she turns into an owl. Or at the very least her neck does. One of my abiding memories of childhood is fighting with one of my siblings and being terrified as my mother managed to swivel her head 360% so that she could yell at us while the car hurtled along at breakneck speed.
Just what the hell is it that happens to folk when they get behind the wheel of a car?
How come my paramour suddenly becomes colour blind?
'That light was red.' I might say.
'Not it wasn't.'
'Er, it was.'
'Which shade of red though?' He might reply, somewhat cryptically.

How come the Pappy becomes Joe Pesci?

'What's this gobshite doing!!??' Pappy might yell, clutching the steering wheel so hard his knuckles turn white as a person -approaching a roundabout ahead- slows down. 'There's nothing coming!!'
'Apart from that car there.'
Pappy won't see the car because like the paramour he is rendered partially blind once securely ensconced in the driving seat. Instead he will roar past the slowing down car and fly through the roundabout, tyres making that 'screeeee' sound as they cling to the road, fighting gravity, the laws of physics and traction.

How come my friend becomes Ayrton Senna?

'Darling I"m just leaving home now, I'll meet you in Dundrum!' She might say
''Okay.' I will say, glancing at the clock in the kitchen. 'I'll see you outside Pennys in what? An hour?'
'Ahahahahhaha.' She will say. 'I'll see you there in half an hour.'
'Erm, but you live-'
'Bye, don't be late.'

And she will be there, she might come through a portal for all I know, or she has a button that say 'Warp speed' on the dash of her Golf, but she can cover distance like a mini Gandolf in a Volkswagen Shadowfax

Just what is it that happens when these exemplary folk climb behind the wheel? What neurons fire up? What dark cloud descends? What small demon wakes and begins to whisper in their ears?

Cars, who knew they had such power?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fall into their camp.
I have a theory that a lot of misdirected anger is down to us not burning off energy (physical and mental) through exercise or chasing wildebeest.
The less active we've become over the last 50 yrs the more aggressive we've become.

Increase their exercise ration and see how they fare (except for the pregnant one. Leave her well alone until jr arrives and resets her hormonal hand grenade).

10:45 a.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I reckon that car salesmen should reveal not only the horse power of a car but also its arse power.

It happens to me too. Some days I become a prickly, intolerant, impatient arse. In the car is where my kids first heard the words wanker and asshat.

Other days I remain unaffected completely. I am driving forbearance itself.

I think there are days when the arse-field of my car is stronger than others.

10:53 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I daren't win the lotto. Cos if I do I'll have me a road rocket, or a serious muscle car. Something that goes from purr to roar in micro seconds.

I'm not a bad driver, mind. I concentrate. But there are a lot of eejits driving and they should really be on a bus the way they like to gawk about them. And the others, turning corners while talking on their mobiles, that'd explain why they didn't indicate. Yes, my blood pressure's rising nicely now. And don't get me started on Dublin traffic...

10:57 a.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

Apparently 80% of drivers think they are better than average...

I do remember hearing somwhere that it's gotten worse with allthe extra safety measures on cars - crumple zones, airbags etc - people now feel invulnerable in their car.

The solution then, is to put a really sharp spike coming out from the steering wheel and pointing at the chest of the driver. You can guarantee everyone would slow their driving down then :)

11:19 a.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

I drive in London every day, and I see madness every day without fail. Some days I am a road rage maniac myself, yelling from the comfort and safety of my own car, giving the finger to people who cut me up, other days I'm as calm as a pond and let it all flow over. I think we all have days behind the wheel when we should be wearing white coats tied at the back!

12:17 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

I confess this is true of me too. I pay attention, obey traffic laws, drive the speed limit (mostly), but other drivers are my enemies, and everyone's an arsehole. Oh, the swearing...

12:24 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Its the arseholes who dont pay attention or disrupt the flow of traffic that really annoy me, but by christ there is a special hatred in my heart for belfast taxi drivers and the idiotic drivers from the leafy areas. C**ts.


12:30 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

My word you're all a bunch of raving loonies! Oh what am I saying, I've been know to froth ever so rabidly on occasion too. My pet hate is people who tear past you only to stop at the lights directly in front of you a few further yards down the road. Sometimes it's all I can do NOT to get out of the car, tap on their window and say, 'Well, well? Are you happy? You go here first you fucking total wanklord.'
Having said that, now that I'm in my mid thirties I fin I am considerably more mellow my driving, where as my the paramour seems to be getting worse.
I quite like Kim's idea, a spike might just make folk pay careful attention when rushing about.

My friend also throws her arm across my chest when she brakes hard, like I'm a child. I find this both terrifying and endearing.

1:39 p.m.  
Anonymous Primal Sneeze said...

I'm worse as a pedestrian. That's when I do most of my hollering, single-digiting and cusin'. The main recipients are wankers who shave 0.00001 milliseconds off their journey by taking left-hand bends so tightly they clip the bushes, not caring that there might be a pedestrian/animal/broken down car in their path.

2:04 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

I find that usually I am pretty calm in the car. Not a lot of bad driving annoys me. A lot of people don't have much skill and many are nervous, inexperienced or simply they take their eye off the ball and end up in the wrong lane by accident. I pranged my car once about 20 years ago, but since then, nothing.

However, about four months ago as I was driving in towards the centre of Dublin from Kimmage, along the lower Kimmage road, a guy in a BMW was driving aggressively up behind me - he was about two feet from the rear of my car. I stopped the car in the middle of the road and he had to stop after me. I got out, went back to his car and had a right go at him. He kept his window closed and his eyes fixed on the road ahead, trying to pretend that I wasn't there. I was bigger than him and at this point I was very, very cross and using four-letter words that I didn't know I knew.

Think that quietened him. Though, I don't think it is ideal behaviour either.

2:11 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Oh BMW drivers... bleugh.

3:11 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

I hate getting into the car with Mr. M and always have.
He's a lead foot, and swerves all over the lanes trying to get just that much little bit further. When a car cuts him off he speeds up until he's almost tapping their bumper. I've tried to rationalize the auto related anger/aggression with him to no avail.
We take the subway as much as possible.

5:05 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Good lord Docky, you were lucky that didn't escalate into something very bloody nasty.

It must be frustrating to drive for a living and I totally understand when folk get frustrated with a poor driver, but it strikes me the paramour's hackles go up the moment he starts the engine. I wish we had subways. I miss the BCN metro, so swift, so efficient, so non paramour driving.

5:50 p.m.  
Blogger Irishbugblog said...

Indeed, some people drive like mentlers. When I was learning to drive many, many years ago I was going around the roundabout at darndale when a big Merc in front of me after exiting onto the dual carriageway decided better. He then turned around, drove back on the wrong side of the road and reentered the roundabout in an exit lane. I had to swerve to miss him and my Dad nearly died on the spot. Needless to say Im too chicken to drive in California.

6:12 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

But don't you have awesome and super wide motorways?

7:14 p.m.  
Anonymous Primal Sneeze said...

For more on the Irish experience see Shite Drivers dot com.

8:24 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Sharf! Thank you Sneezy. I'll be sending that one upstairs.

9:05 p.m.  
Blogger laughykate said...

I know a guy who was so road raged and was punching the steering wheel so hard that he set off the air bag.

I would have paid money to have witnessed it.

3:45 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Hahah, serves him right. A friend of my brother once lost his rag in traffic too. The car behind beeped at him and he leaped out cursing and swearing only to get hit by a cyclist coming through the stalled cars. The stupid dickhead.

9:51 a.m.  
Blogger jothemama said...

Volkswagon Shadowfax is most excellent.

8:04 a.m.  

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