Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cornish stand-off

Picture the scene: a single-track road on a hill. There are three or four passing-places on the hill, the first at the bottom, which is a wide corner (pass-space 1). There's a tight section and then a slight bulge (pass-space 2) where two cars may pass but it's a squash & a squeeze, then it narrows again briefly before a wider space (3) for 50 yards or so, before tight again past some houses and then wider again (4).

So, you have the hill.

Now you have a middle-aged gent proceeding up the hill in his car, and a middle-aged woman travelling down the hill in her car.

They meet at the narrow part just after pass-space 2, and the gent drops back a couple of yards expecting her to squeeze into the side to allow him to pass. She evidently assumed he would continue to go back into the corner and just drives down instead. He reverses no further.

They both stop and sit staring stonily at each other through the windscreens. They possibly gesticulate, I don't know.

They wait.

They wait.

Enter me and family in the car, heading up the hill. We see them ahead and stop at the corner, leaving plenty of room for the car ahead to come back into, and sit expecting one to move. We wait.

Husband gets tetchy and sends me to investigate.

I discover a Mexican stand-off. Both are more than willing to pass messages to the other, but neither willing to move (in reverse, both are willing to go forwards). Variously they wanted to know if the other was local and whether they knew the unwritten rules of "who drops back" of the village, or to offer to reverse the other's cars if they didn't know how to. Taking a diplomatic stance, I felt this information wasn't necessarily need-to-know or relevant and possibly incendiary.

Another car comes up behind us, but gets bored and does a three-point turn to go out of the village the other way. I'm beginning to think we should do the same. Then another car comes up behind us and sits there.

Husband gets out of the car and starts talking about calling the police, loudly. A car comes up behind the woman.

Finally the gent drops back (in such a way that she'll have to pull in to the side to let him past, so although she wins in getting him to reverse, he wins in getting going faster). So everybody's happy/mad as hell/petty as fuck.

And I laugh my arse off.


ellie said...

No reverse gear? Just like Tony Blair :-)

Mephitis said...

Haha :D