The Glovebox Chronicles #7Table of Contents
Ignition - Page 2
Notes from the Road - Page 3
Letter from Patrick - Pages 4-6
I Got the Street Corner, Traffic Light Crossing Blues by Fred Argoff - Page 7
Car Trek II: In Search of the Holy Grail by Kiel Stuart - Pages 8-10
A Hunk of Tin by Al Smith - Page 11
Good Bye Old Friend, Hello New One by Jean Hooper - Page 12
Survey Questions - Pages 13-26
Ode to a V-Dub by Alden Scott Crow - Page 27
Driving Across Cultures by Brant Kresovich - Pages 28-29
Flash! Zine Editor Narrowly Avoids Death by Fred Argoff - Page 30
When in a Squeeze by Ann Paschell - Pages 31-32
Volkswagon Karmann Ghia by Richard Jacob - Pages 33-34
Vignettes from an English Ford Fiesta by Davida Gypsy Breier - Pages 35-36
About the Contributors page 37
Vignettes from an English Ford Fiesta By Davida Gypsy Breier
I spent 12 days in the UK in January with Patrick. We drove from London to the south coast, up to Scotland, down to Wales and back to London. We covered about 1600 miles. There is such an exhilaration that comes from fresh roadway.
Driving in the UK was like learning to drive all over again. We flew overnight and arrived without so much as an hour's sleep. With caffeine induced energy I attempted to deal with an unfamiliar car, unfamiliar roads, and my addled interpretation of English traffic laws. Just as I was getting the hang of it I watched a car go through a red light and smash into an oncoming car. My sweating renewed. One of the first things I learned is that the fast lane is indeed very fast.
"You want to turn .back there .", pointing at a road I was already in the middle of passing. These are the directions you will get at 3am from a Londoner who doesn't drive, and who has had half a dozen lagers. Getting lost in London in the wee hours that night remains one of the clearest, funniest, and most enjoyable driving memories from the trip. The view of London from the bridge crossing the Thames at 3am is quite beautiful.
After a night in Calais, France and too much free vodka, we decided to sleep in the tiny Fiesta. We put on as many clothes as we could and settled into our frost-crusted car. We giggled and shivered for the remainder of the night in an empty car park in Dover. The morning came at 4:30am because we couldn't stand the freezing temperatures any longer. I fell asleep and awoke confused to find myself in downtown London during the start of rush hour. Patrick had missed the turn we needed. I found the map and guided us back out before sleep reclaimed me.
The roadways around Hadrian's Wall became my personal roller coaster. So did the road through the Moors. The Fiesta was much more fun to play with than my mini-van.
While on a large four lane divided highway I watched someone pass two cars by threading the center lane between them. It took not only balls, but skill.
The traffic lights have a different pattern than in the US. They go from red to yellow to green. The cars seem to jump out on the yellow. We wondered if this was because most of the cars are standard and the drivers needed a moment to shift.
There were very few SUVs on the road there. Range Rovers were the only ones I really remember seeing.
It took us several days to figure out how to use the rear window washer. It also took me several days to figure out that the double line at the curb meant no parking.
On the 11th day we were in London during afternoon rush hour. Patrick turned and asked me to "make the face." I managed this while driving through a whirling double round-about, and he took the photo that proves it.
I noticed some differences between British and American driving styles. Americans, regardless of region, have an underlying aggressive style, yet they follow the "rules." The British drivers were much more polite, but there was a lawlessness and independent style. It would seem like the traffic should be in total chaos, but it somehow worked.
By my 12th day there, I realized that I loved to drive in the UK far more than I even liked to drive at home. I also realized that Patrick was a better traveling companion than I could have ever imagined. He was an excellent driver, map reader, and enjoyed exploring and getting lost as much as I do.