21st November 2007
I love Italians.
They are so kind, friendly, generous and forgiving.
So there has to be a dark side, and there is.
There is a madness inside every Italian, a madness which rears its ugly head each time he or she gets behind the wheel of a car. There is a serious side to this (see the death toll every year on Italian roads) but I prefer to focus on the more mundane aspects which affect your average foreigner on an average day on an average Italian road.
1. Do not say 'thank you' ever, it is a sign of weakness. If you do they will either think you're waving or you're weird.
2. If someone flashes their lights as though to 'let you in', do not be tricked, they are really saying, 'get out of my way!'
3. If you dare venture into the outside lane of a motorway do not let your mirrors deceive you, there will be someone there, someone so close behind you they may as well be in your back seat. They will also be flashing their lights (see above).
4. Do not stop to allow a pedestrian to cross (especially at a pedestrian crossing), they will think you are either an old friend or just weird.
5. Depending on your region of Italy, traffic lights can be any one of these three things; instruction, advice or just Christmas decorations. Be aware.
6. You must use your mobile phone at all times, otherwise other road users may think that you can't afford one.
In order to ensure the safety of both me and my family, I drive the type of car Arnold Schwarzenneger would be proud to own, but I drive it like a nun. It's a strange combination, unless you like musicals, but it seems to work, so far.
The stupidest things I did today;
1., 3. and 4.