Saturday, July 29, 2006

On The Right

There is an old, well-worn and (I think) cherished argument that my friends and I are constantly having over here. You see, I believe that in the US, we drive on the right side of the road and they believe in the UK they drive on the correct side of the road.

The argument goes something like this: The Romans knew that driving on the left meant that your sword-hand was free to do what needed to be done when passing an enemy. I see this as specious. How many times on the way to the office have you driven along brandishing a claymore out the window? Wanted to? (Okay, I'll give you that I have wanted to, but be reasonable…)

I, on the other hand (pun intended), think it is much more efficient to shift with the hand that you are dominant in. I do practically everything right-handed, why would I want to drive left-handed? Although it would explain why there are so many horrid drivers over here!

All wrong-handed people driving on "the correct side of the car;" it can't be a recipe for success. I bring this up because, as my parents have discovered this week, the right/left side distinction is largely theoretical anyway. As has been mentioned before, the roads over here are extremely narrow. Even those which are ostensibly two-lane roads often are just barely wide enough for a single car to negotiate safely. There are also places where the houses encroach directly up to the very verge of the road itself so there is no where to pull over. Compound that problem with the fact that people often park in the streets, and the whole right/left argument falls apart like a wet pasty.

So the argument is over. (At least it is as far as I am concerned.) We drive how we do because we do and that is that.

I hope wherever you are today, you are driving on whatever side of the road is customary for your location.

Don Bergquist - 29 July 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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