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OF PUFFANS, PELICANS, TOUCANS AND ZEBRAS

November 3, 2011
tags: ,

I’m sitting in the lobby of the BBC in Cardiff, waiting for my appointment with the Director of Commissioning where I’ll present a few ideas for Welsh television. Not wanting to waste time, I’ve brought along a titillating book to read: “The AA Theory Test for Car Drivers.” Inside are 963 official questions and answers I must learn and memorize before taking the UK driving test.

This is the third time I’ve driven from my home in the countryside into the city. My stomach’s been nervous all day. My fingernails serrated. It’s not the meeting that’s causing all this, but the fact that once again, I have to do battle with my demons – and drive.

Mind you, the British drivers are not at all intimidating. They’re really quite lovely and are bursting with good manners. They wave at you to turn from one lane to the other, and actually wait while you do so. And then they wave again after you’ve turned. The Japanese may be masters of the bobbing head, but the British have the polite hand wave down pat. They wave when you let them into your lane. They wave when they have to back up into a driveway or a small lay by so you can proceed down a crowded lane. They stop on a busy street to let you pull out. And they wave when you do.

The British signs even have manners. “Keep Cardiff Tidy,” read one I passed today. We do.

And then there are the birds and animals that share the roads with cars. Puffins, penguins, toucans and zebras are everywhere. They’re not escapees from the zoo but different types of road crossings every driver must learn to distinguish and obey the rules for. The definitions lay buried somewhere in the CD that accompanies the book.

Do you see any zebras?

Ok. The next time I see a penguin, or a puffin or a zebra crossing the street, I’ll simply stop the car, turn off the engine and wait. For what I don’t know but I’ll be well-mannered, wave at the animals as they cross, and read a few more pages of my AA Theory book in preparation for the driving test that already is giving me nightmares.

Any bets on my passing the first go-around? Driving lessons start this weekend…..

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Malcolm permalink
    November 3, 2011 3:39 pm

    Say cool you know that if you can drive in Florida you can drive anywhere

  2. Sal Davis permalink
    November 24, 2011 6:47 pm

    Wow, what must the drivers in the US be like? I find British roads very intimidating.

    Commenting very late again to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I know you’re a long way from home [unless you are back there for the holidays] but I hope cloudy old Wales is being good to you.

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