of insanity await an incautious motorist
PAYING a visit to the Borders, the cruelty capital
of Scotland, I was appalled at the driving on both
the A68 and, more especially, the A7. How someone
isn’t killed every half-hour I’ve no idea. People
overtake on blind corners and into oncoming traffic.
It isn’t just unevolved bumpkins who don’t drive properly,
though. Edinburgh, generally a civilised place in
which to motor, also has its hotspots of insanity.
For example, everyone turning right from Craiglockhart
Avenue on to Colinton Road speeds as if demented.
It’s just a short stretch of road, but it splits into
two lanes each way and, since no one wants to be overtaken,
this crazy contest takes place to see whose car has
most testosterone. Then there are the Mad Car Door
Openers of Morningside Road. The thoroughfare is narrow,
with cars parked on both sides, but the Morningsiders
– people used to getting their own way – just open
their doors into the oncoming traffic causing, on
average, around three deaths an hour. Nearly all my
friends and most of my family have been killed in
this way. But nobody does anything about it.
SPEAKING of Morningside, am I the only one increasingly
restive at the easy time the rich have had in recent
years? They pay little tax and no-one threatens them
with shooting any more. When I was young and idealistic,
it was only the thought of offing the rich that kept
us going. There was nothing immoral in this, since
scientific-style intuition reveals rich people are
almost always evil. That’s how they got where they
are today. You could see it in action in Morningside
Road. Most people were decent and polite but the nobs
from up the hill never used their car indicators,
never said please or thank you, and never bought me
cakes when I asked them to. It was the same when I
was a junior executive in tree surgery. The poorer
folk were always kind, giving us tea and cakes (sometimes
without me having to ask), while the rich always quibbled
about the price of the job and never gave a tip. I
remember one job where the nob householder watched
us through binoculars during the whole operation.
Admittedly, Horace Morris and I had an unusual modus
operandi. Horace (who was the tree-surgeon; I was
just an occasional labourer) would hack off bits of
tree and I, standing below wearing a helmet, would
head these into a skip. It’s true, too, that we would
sometimes get a bit pissed at lunchtime. And it was
generally on these occasions that Horace’s dreaded
catchphrase, “That should hold”, would be followed
by a crash and the sound of splintering glass. But
that’s not the point. I can’t remember the point.
NOT that it’s any of your business, but I’m getting
HOW odd. I turn up at the registry office and they
say they’ve no appointment for me. Then I remember
that, when I wrote “wedding” in my diary, I meant
to say “dentist”.
QUITE a lot of people write to me complaining of depression.
They say they were perfectly all right until they
started reading one of my articles, and now ask what
I’m going to do about it. Luckily, as I write these
words, I happen to be wearing a white coat and since,
coincidentally, one of the neighbours has just walked
in with a stethoscope, I feel qualified (even a bit
over-qualified) to offer the following diagnosis.
There’s nothing wrong with being depressed. It’s just
a form of sensitivity. All depression comes from growing
up and having childhood’s illusions shattered. As
a child, you think of adults and the authorities as
magical, benevolent elves who somehow make things
work. You think nothing could really be cruel. Then
you grow up and realise society is run by idiots,
or “managers” as they’re known, and that cruelty beyond
your wildest nightmares happens every day. Indeed,
it would be fair to say that, if you are educated
and not depressed, there must be something wrong with
you. There is, too, a clear link between alcohol and
depression. People who don’t drink are depressing.
Next week: how aromatherapy cured my ingrowing toe-nail;
10 meditation exercises for scrotal elasticity; conquer
nervous anxiety by the creative use of worrying.
from The Scotsman 01/03/03
thanks Uncle Bertie.