The four taboos.
Politics. I really can’t be bothered with this. Ever since Labour moved away from socialism, they do all look the same and I just don’t trust any party or politician. Not to be discussed at dinner parties. Ever.
Religion. Again, as I get older, I find this ever more tiresome. I simply don’t understand how so many intelligent, educated people don’t question their faith. Why is it okay to eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood? Why is it not okay to eat certain foods? Why is it necessary to wear particular clothing or headgear? Why are some images forbidden? Why is everything suddenly okay if you go and confess your sins? Frankly, in many ways I envy those with a strong faith, but I’m baffled by blind faith. Another dinner party no no.
Sex and driving. This is what I’m really interested in, although not necessarily at the same time.
It struck me some time ago that it is virtually impossible to criticise somebody’s driving*. As far as I can ascertain, most drivers are of the opinion that they drive well; they don’t think they can improve; they have nothing to learn. Indeed, I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that most drivers believe they are better than average behind the wheel. This worries me, both as a keen driver and as a cyclist. It also irritates me as an analyst. By now you are thinking that this is rather dull. Where’s the sex?
Right. Imagine you are in the bedroom (bathroom, kitchen, garage, countryside or whatever – wherever you happen to enjoy acts of intimacy with your loved one) and you are getting down to business. Hell, it’s your birthday. Now, imagine I happen to drop by and suggest politely that you might like to slow down or that you might like to change your position on the *ahem* road. Why would I be doing this? I’m doing this not because I’m some sort of pervert, but because I can see that your speed and position is not conducive to providing the optimum level of concern for the other road user; the other road user may enjoy the ride more if you slowed down a bit or gave them more time, space or a different angle of approach. The *cough* road is being shared, but one of the users is being a little selfish. One of the users is getting full value on this road, but the other feels rather neglected, or in a worst case scenario, somewhat used and abused. I can see this and feel duty bound to say something, but, in reality I would not be there, and even if I were, I would not dare to criticise another man or woman during the act. It’s private and there is no risk to me or anyone else. In short, we do not (as a rule) tend to comment on others’ bedroom antics. The whole point of all this is that it is clearly analogous to driving. I know that when I ask a van driver if he can give me more room, or if he can slow down a bit when close to me, I am effectively suggesting that he is a shit driver (lover) and he’d be better at driving (having sex) if he just thought about the consequences of his actions (where he’s putting his knob) while looking from the point of view of the other road user (his partner). It’s no wonder people get so aggressive.
*The only time I have ever successfully been able to criticise people’s driving is when they have come forward for an assessment. While working for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, I spent many hours working with drivers who were big enough to admit that they could do better. In all honesty, that first step of seeking help and admitting weaknesses was pretty much all it took. For me, advanced driving is roughly 90% mentality and 10% technique. I’d like to think that IAM qualified drivers would give a cyclist enough room because they are thinking about road users other than themselves.
So, if you are not delivering in the bedroom, I ain’t gonna tell you, but there are therapists out there. So I’ve been told.