Driver error

I realised recently that the selection of hand signals available to motorists is woefully inadequate. There are only a few universally understood gestures and almost all of those are designed with the red mist end of the spectrum in mind. The two-fingered salute, the one-fingered salute, the frantic onanist, the languid onanist … it is not an extensive list. The reason, no doubt, is that we’re all great drivers who rarely need to express anything but rage to the other idiots on the road (who must all be blow-ins). Once in while, however, even the best driver among us – me, obviously – finds himself at a disadvantage. I misjudged one of those yellow box yokes the other day by, eh, presuming that the truck on the other side of it would disappear if I just kept going. It didn’t, for some reason, and I found myself blocking the path of a middle-aged woman in a Corolla and tracksuit. If she’d reacted the way I would have – see list above – then I wouldn’t have felt so bad. But she simply sat back, expressionless, and waited for this little trial to be over. I was suddenly awash with guilt and tore through my mind in search of an appropriate gesture. When I drew a blank, I found myself turning in her direction and bowing. And not just a head bow either, hands too. Of the ‘I’m not worthy’ variety. Then I did it again. Then again. By the time I realised how impressive this must look, the truck had gone and I was able to escape. Anyway. The upshot is that I’ve come up with a new gesture to avoid this kind of embarrassment in future. So if I cut you off one day and you see me slapping my forehead with alternate hands while touching the end of my nose with my tongue, you’ll know I’m really very sorry.

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