I have a very good friend in the United States who over the years has said she would like to come and visit this great country of ours Australia. Then a recent ‘moment’ saw her take a leaf from Nike’s book. Their tag line is ‘Just do it’ she just went and did it. Booked, arriving in a week or so.
Then the concerns started to set in all of which I was able to allay except for one big one. She insisted that we drive on the wrong side of the road. As she is going to rent a car what does she do? Even worse she may drive mine.
I firstly suggested that she immediately start to drive on the other side of the road until she gets to Australia just to get used to it. For some reason she said it wasn’t a good idea as she didn’t believe the Denver, Colorado police would agree with the trial.
“Ok, I understand but actually it’s very easy” I wrote “I’ll give you some tips on how it’s done”
Then I remembered that she is not always certain of her right hand from her left hand, particularly when reading maps. She can always remember on which hand she should wear her watch and which hand she should wear the rings and bangles. That levelled the playing field a little.
Trying to make it easy for her I sent her the following instructions to reassure her and to give her some in flight reading for the trip from Denver. I told her that all she reasonably had to remember twenty four hours a day/seven days a week is that in her country she drives on the rings and bangles side. Here in Australia we drive on the watches side. I avoided telling her that we sit on the rings and bangles side of the car as I didn’t wish to confuse her.
Most driving in Australia is in a forward direction but from the watches side of the road. If she suddenly felt the urge to drive rings and bangles she needed to determine if it was correct for the place she was in or was it a natural default? If she felt it was a natural default then she should quickly and as efficiently as possible head towards the opposite side hence watches.
If she actually made a rings and bangles turn she should halt the current rate of forward progress and try to get back to a watches orientation. ‘Quite simple so far’ I thought.
Roundabouts are only now being introduced to the US road system and she will most assuredly encounter one when she is here. So she will need a little help with these too.
I advised that if she suddenly found herself at a roundabout facing rings and bangles when she should have been watches then she will probably be in a state of panic for a moment. What to do?
Simply stop where you are and think it through. Imagine the rings and bangles dancing a well rehearsed tune to the sounds of watches. If this failed she should take a moment to herself, a deep breathe, reverse the car and take a watches; but from the rings and bangles side of the roundabout she will be forced onto the rings and bangles side of the actual circle. As she circumnavigates the roundabout she should slowly slip into a watches lane, then possibly another and before she arrives back at the original point from whence she came she should be able to take the watches exit where she first intended. She should also remember to signal her intent to turn watches from the watches turn indicator on the rings and bangles side of the car.
“You see?” I wrote “it’s quite simple” just remember that most people wear their watches on the left hand so the manoeuvres will balance themselves out. Being the fastidious person I am I also mentioned that she shouldn’t look at herself in the rear vision mirror as she may become disoriented.
Hitting the send button I sent these instructions across the world with a certain amount of pride knowing that she would be safe if she followed the instructions to the letter.
Then I remembered she was left-handed or was I looking at her in the mirror when she poured those glasses of wine?
My next email carried the subject heading Re: Your trip….don’t worry I’ll drive.