Queasy Rider

I don’t drive. I never have, I never will. My parents tell me, constantly tell me, I should be driving by now. Dad, especially, as he is sick of ferrying me around, helping me move house etc. “Well why have a dog and bark yourself?” I retort.

The truth of the matter I just don’t want to drive. I’m too scared. Not scared of what sort of driver I’d be… I’d be fine, I guess. I have an unrivalled sense of direction and am always berating cab drivers for taking the long way round. No, it is the rest of the world I’m worried about. It’s the other drivers, those over whom you have no control. Being a pedestrian in our beautiful Scottish capital has made me realise that unless I move to a one-horse town, I’ll never be able to drive, even though I would quite like to.

I can just picture me whizzing about the town in a little car (a BMW convertible, I think), casually parking it outside the city’s top night spots (hello 1980s) picking up my rich champers-drinking friends before zooming off to me £750, 000 apartment in the city centre. And then I wake up and realise that even if I did learn to drive I wouldn’t be able to afford a car and I would never use it anyway because the traffic would be too horrendous, and I’d probably crash all the time, AND 75% of people who drive in Edinburgh drive like nutters.

Below is a guide to recognising the different types of schizophrenic motorists whose bonnet you may end up on if you ever take a trip to ‘Scotland’s beautiful capital ™’

1. The Cabbie

Ah, the cabbie. Bastion of Edinburgh traffic… or should that be b*stard? Yes, our beloved psycho-cabbie will stop at nothing to get you to your destination… but you may not necessarily be alive when you get there. Squeal as he does U-turns at 85 mph in the middle of Princes Street. Yelp as he tries his best to run that red light. Gasp as he pulls out in front of a huge mutha of a bus/ wagon/ petrol tanker. Start to cry hysterically as he then charges you £15 for your 300m, 25 second ‘journey’. As if it wasn’t enough being fleeced and almost killed by him when he has got you in his cab, he and his friends will then attempt to mow you down whenever they see you, be you at zebra crossing, on the pavement, wherever. During Festival time he also adds attributes such as only picking up rich/ stupid tourists as they are the biggest tippers, meaning that to get a cab in Edinburgh you have to dress in an ‘I love Scotland’ T-shirt and carry tartan carrier bags.

2. The Laddie Racer

Like a boy racer, but Scottish. Now here’s my personal favourite. Laddie will have, say, an old Fiesta, or a Nova in black or white. He’ll be wearing the ‘latest’ schemie fashions (it is hard to describe to you what a schemie is, let’s just say that they are unpleasant), which will consist of a fake Duffer of St. George hooded top, a Ben Sherman shirt (yummy) and of course, stonewashed market stall jeans. They will drive all day and all night through the Grassmarket (intolerably cheesy tourist banlieue with strip bars, ‘theme’ pubs, souvenir shops and endless stag and hen weekend parties) with their music up really, really loud, windows wound down with arm nestled outside. They will drive up and down as their bleach blonde 13-year-old girlfriends sit in the back seat smoking badly-rolled joints and drinking vodka-based alcopops. The Laddies will whoop and yell at every strip bar they pass, shout ‘ye wankers’ at tourists and generally terrorise pedestrians. Then a police officer or a ‘blue meanie’ (evil strain of traffic warden) will come round the corner and they will turn back into the schoolchildren they are.

3. Driving Miss Daisy

Yep, except this time ‘Miss’ Daisy is driving herself. Really slowly. Until… she sees an amber light and then all of a sudden she will hit the ‘gas’ (man) pretending to be totally oblivious to all driving around her. Do not be fooled. She is evil and has a plan. “I look 10,” thinks she, “so I can get away with driving like a complete arsehole”. Not even an Edinburgh cabbie would punch an old lady in the face. Well, not unless really provoked… If lucky, one can also witness a chauffeur driving the little old lady very slowly in a huge car. You wouldn’t believe how often I see this. Believe it or not, there are some loaded people in this fair city.

4. The Family Guy

It is not particularly ‘hilly’ around these parts, so quite why we have so many people in the city who have Range Rovers and the like is a mystery to me. Or rather was. Until I noticed that they were all being driven by irate looking men in their early forties or their impossibly high-haired wives, accompanied by squealing, screaming, whingeing, crying brats. How I love to see them screech to a halt outside Sainsbury’s bawling at each other. “For crying out loud, Stewart, there wasn’t enough room to get the car through.” “I’m telling ye, Linda, ye couldae got a bloody bus through there”. How they find time to watch the road when they spend most of their journeys arguing and slagging each other off is totally beyond me.

So just a few reasons why I will never take to the roads. Why would I? There are easier ways to commit suicide. I think I’ll just remain a happy bystander. I’ll continue making wanker signs at people who don’t indicate, tutting loudly at those who run red lights, flipping the bird at drivers who toot their horn as I cross right in front of them (well, you could SEE me, couldn’t you, you arsehole?) and generally being a pedestrian. Why drive in the comfort of your own car when you can be jostled by over 10,000 people walking along Princes Street or sitting on a no.44 watching some niddron picking his nose?

With me behind the wheel, I don’t think anyone would be safe…