This morning, just up the road from my flat, as I was lending my Carry Freedom trailer to a man called Steve, a woman was knocked off her bike by a chap in a van which wasn’t black or grey, but that other non-colour.
The sun in winter shines right into your eyes as you go up my road, which means you have to drive, walk or ride carefully, or you risk bumping into something. G. Roberton, whose not-grey, not-black van is available to hire for uplift and delivery and is therefore even by the strictest definition a professional driver, bumped into something. Someone, actually – a woman who I suspect has a broken wrist and definitely has a wrecked back wheel:
One of the folk that lives up the street is a doctor and happened to be around when the guy hit her, so by the time I was up there to lend my expert services(I own a really warm jacket, so I lent her it while she waited on the ambulance) the first aiding had already been taken care of at a level above my pay grade.
To some extent I wish I’d given the driver a harder time, because he was blaming the sun more than he blamed himself. He did appear to be human, so I suppose that was just the human nature talking, but it’s a neat demonstration of the problem we have – we don’t treat driving as a hazard that the driver creates, but as something unavoidable that just…happens to the driver.
Suppose I was a medieval battle re-enactor, by either hobby or trade. If I was to walk from my flat to the site of the re-enactment carrying a naked halberd and I stabbed, sliced or bumped someone with it, I think it would universally be accepted that even if I had taken reasonable halberd-walking precautions, the accident was ultimately my fault because it was my conscious decision to go out the house with such a ludicrously pointy slicey bumpy object. If the sun was in my eyes but I walked along the street regardless, I heavily suspect I would get even less sympathy.
But we live in a country where most adults re-enact battles and carry their halberds everywhere, some marching along with their status-symbol German engineered halberds in the apparent belief that their titanium shaft splines entitle them to the whole pavement, some carrying their Dad’s boring halberd onehanded as they text with the other, some in too much of a hurry to slow down even when they can’t see.
A world where everyone carries a halberd around in public, often doesn’t pay attention to the obvious danger that creates but is absolved of the responsibility that ought to come with it? That’s surely the kind of cracked surrealist vision that only Uberuce could come up with after a night on the piss and two pots of coffee?
Nope. Worse still is reality.