Idiot Drivers & an Overconfident Tourist
I was lucky enough to spend a week in England a few years ago. I returned home with several excellent stories and several thousand less-excellent digital photos to sort through.
I’m starting with this information so you’ll understand why I think this video, which was sent to me by my cousin — who, incidentally, has heard all of my good stories, as well as the bad and mediocre ones at least thrice — who is so very funny.
The video, embedded below for your viewing pleasure, demonstrates what happens when an everyday vehicle tries to get the best of a set of bollards, which are short vertical steel posts used to direct or control traffic. Spoiler alert: the bollards win every time.
When I arrived at Heathrow airport, everything amazed me — the food offerings, the accents, the super cute cabs, all the people carrying umbrellas — and I tried my darndest to mentally catalog every little detail, memory and delightful turn of phrase.
On the second day of my trip, I was walking around Manchester with an American friend of mine who had lived in England for the last half year or so. I was so busy remarking on every little thing that happened, staring at shop windows and gawking at the number of people using public transportation that I failed to see an obstacle in the road right in front of me.
Bollards EverywhereIn my defense, we were crossing a little street designated for buses only and a bus had just passed by us. As we crossed the street something — I think it was a Burberry raincoat — caught my eye and I walked directly into a bollard in the middle of the road. Since a bus had recently driven over that very spot, it didn’t occur to me that a waist-high pillar of steel might be smack in the middle of a thoroughfare.
As it turns out, there are both stationary and retractable bollards everywhere you look (possibly a slight exaggeration) in Europe. The retractable ones are set up so that a bus approaching prompts the bollards to lower flush to the ground, so the bus can utilize the lane. Once the bus clears the bollards, they return to their upright and locked position. In this way, nefarious drivers are prevented from using bus lanes for personal gain.
Don’t Drink and Walk…You’ll Spill Your Drink
Stick with me because I told you that story to tell you this more embarrassing tale. On my last full day in England, I was at a fantastic pub with my American ex-pat friend. Several Boddingtons into the evening, I made an ill-fated attempt to impress some very attractive local gents with my excellent command of the local vernacular.
My first attempt, which I aced, was “bloody.” As in, “I bloody well hope Manchester United wins the match.” I got a few other phrases right and was riding high on my success when it happened. By this point, I was a little absurdist in my assertions and my friend had — unbeknownst to me — started recording me. And so it came to be that I was captured on video, in a clip I refuse to ever post online, saying, in absolute earnest, “You think Facebook is going to make MySpace obsolete?! What utter bollards!”
The word I intended to use, of course, was “bollocks.” Once the group was done laughing, they kindly corrected me so I wouldn’t replicate the gaffe. The recording, however, reached home before I did and I’m fairly certain I will never live it down. So, without further ado, I present to you, cars attempting to use bus lanes.