Friday, May 27, 2005

Beware the White Van Man

Here in the UK we have a particular kind of human known as "White Van Man." He is more feared than any serial murderer, child molestor, or parking enforcer. His handiwork is visible everywhere - in the strewn hubcaps along East Road, the demolished side-mirrors of parked cars, and the dented Peugeots with telltale white paint marking the collision. White Van Man does not stop for pedestrians, cars, traffic signals, or other White Van Men. Speed limits are irrelevant to him because he cannot see, and certainly isn't smart enough to count. Unsurprisingly, White Van Man drives a white van. In the UK almost all vans are white, and even those that aren't will likely be driven by Tan Van Man, Blue Van Man, or Rusty Leyland/Rover Van Man. White Van Man and his bretheren are the spawn of Satan.

White Van Man may drive any size of van, but has a strong preference for larger, poorly-kept ones. He tends to shy away from the near ubiquitous microvans which appear to have been constructed by brutally slicing a Toyota Corolla in half and replacing the rear with a large metal box. Those vehicles can't do enough damage for his tastes.

Rob recently had reason to hire a van to transport some equipment up from Somerset. It was a huge van - and yes, it was white. We were driving out of Cambridge when Rob stopped and flashed his headlights (this the universal UK symbol for yeilding right-of-way to oncoming traffic that wants to make a right-hand turn.) The driver of the oncoming Renault didn't know what to make of it. He was obviously wary of this unusually polite and nonviolent behaviour coming from White Van Man, and he proceeded to fidget before flooring the car and darting round the corner. The look on his face was one of sheer terror. It was then that I realized we were the most feared thing on the road.

I bring all of this up now because Rob has now purchased a white van. The reason for this will be revealed in good time. For now, let's just say that lasers and robots are involved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'd leave a comment but my witty-meter needs new batteries.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed out on White Van Man's natural environment: the outside lane of a motorway, approximately 3cm from YOUR bumper behind you as you overtake. Oh, don't forget: he's going faster than you...

9:28 AM  

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