The Carpenter, the Red Light and British Politeness on the Road

Photo credit: Karoly Lorentey

I drove through a red light today but I have a good excuse; the carpenter made me do it.

It’s a long story to be fair but let’s start off with the guy who works with wood. I live in South America now, and the carpenters here have got a terrible reputation for letting you down and disappearing off the face of the Earth when they are meant to be doing a job for you.

This is the reason why my attic has no ladder leading to it and no windows and why I was happy when a friendly looking carpenter knocked my door the other day. I decided to take a leap of faith, put my trust in him and drive him to the bank today to pay him the money to buy the wood and get started.

We’re All So Very Polite, Don’t You Know?

Anyway, when I was driving, he mentioned that I must come from a country where everyone drives politely. I said that this is true but it is probably partly due to the strict controls in place there. Here there are no traffic cameras and if the few police who are around stop you while you are driving a stolen car with no licence and with your stomach full of gin you can supposedly give them a couple of pounds and be on your way in no time.

We got to a section where I had to turn left (remember we’re driving on the right here). The carpenter told me that I would need to break my normal rules and pass the traffic light on red, as there would be no break in traffic to let me across otherwise. He was right and I plunged across on red with the giddy feeling of mischief making which must be familiar to naughty schoolboys and cabinet members.

I was left wondering whether my British politeness will gradually get worn down as I discover the pleasure of passing red lights, cutting people up and tooting my horn in a random manner.

Time will tell and I can’t wait to find out…

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