Yesterday afternoon, I walked with my toddler and four-year-old son to the school. We walked in single file in the deliciously cool shadows of some cypress trees. My toddler was asleep in the buggy, fiercely clutching a dandelion clock, the spoils from an earlier battle with her brother. My son was wearing his beloved blue snowboots, from which he won’t be parted, in spite of the heat.
‘Children get very tired walking”, he said. “Bumblebees get tired too, don’t they?”
I passed him his new red water bottle. He drank with both hands clasped seriously around the bottle, his eyes closed, and although we were late for school, everything was absolutely perfect.
Perfect, that is, until the driver of a massive fuck-off Eddie Stobart Heavy Goods Vehicle – which was already driving too close to the kerb – beeped his horn TWICE, long and hard.
“Nigel, mate”, he shouted, waving to a guy on the other side of the street.
He beeped it again, this time for longer. The ground vibrated. Shock waves circled the village. A woman drew back her curtains, probably thinking it was Jesus, bombing down to earth, blowing a big End-Times trumpet. Or, a bunch of archangels going apeshit. The toddler woke, dropped her dandelion clock, started screaming. My son was even crosser than me.
“Keep it down you … YOU”, he shouted. “You … WINKIEHEAD”.
Now I love all my children equally. But at that moment, my son was nothing less than a hero. Of course, I wasn’t best pleased with his use of the term ‘winkiehead’ so close to the school, and where he got it from is a total mystery. I also believe that the collective noun for people who use their horn with no consideration for other people, and in ways that don’t adhere to Rule 92 of The Highway Code, is, technically, KNOBHEADS. But this is nit-picking.
So, in honour of my small, supremely cross superhero, here is a list of total winkieheads I prepared earlier:
- Taxi drivers: taxi drivers often beep the horn to let you know they’ve arrived. They are so committed to keeping a line of communication open with their customers that within minutes of arriving at your house, they will have beeped the horn three of four times, maybe more. This is particularly the case if they are early; in fact, the earlier they are, the more they beep. Once, I was unable to make it to the front door to acknowledge the beeping because, frankly, I was in the middle of pushing a gargantuan tampon into my vagina, and although there was a good five minutes left to go before my scheduled pick-up time, the driver drove away. But who can blame him? Can a taxi driver really be expected to conquer his crippling fear of doorbells, or risk entering an atmosphere not yet purified by the scent of Magic Tree, just because some flake is doing last-minute gynae shit?
- Middle-management men from the banking or financial sectors: this group typically drives BMW Series 3 cars, or Audis (those cars with the LED day-lights and the cock-rings). These men believe that the one sextillionth of a second after the red light changes to amber is precisely the right time to beep the horn. But again, who can blame them. Right? After all, they are in a dreadful rush: quite unimaginable to the rest of us. In fact, anyone who thinks that a toddler wresting herself out of a child-seat, and/or climbing over the front seats towards the steering wheel, is good enough reason to proceed with caution at the traffic lights is a shilly-shallying over-sensitive chicken-shit loser who will never make it in the REAL world. And last but not least (no, definitely not LEAST), many men from the financial sector are also afflicted by large burdensome penises that do not easily fit into the confines of a normal cockpit, which means that they must either arrange matters so that a) their appendages rest on the gas pedal, as often happens, or b) on the horn.
- HGV or white van drivers who recognize a mate called Nigel on the pavement and think it entirely appropriate to beep the horn to say hello, in spite of the fact that the afore-mentioned Nigel may be a matter of yards away from someone fitted with a pacemaker, a baby asleep in a pram, a shift worker asleep in their house, an elderly person of a nervous disposition, or a psychotic whose violent episodes are triggered by external auditory cues (it happens, OK!), not forgetting all other road users who will now spend the rest of their day wondering whether they have an urgent problem with their cars, or their driving …
WINKIEHEADS? KNOBHEADS? YOU DECIDE.