Shit got serious when Hubby and I purchased Tesco golf clubs in June.
Since we live on this island where golf is ubiquitous, you’d think we’d been playing nonstop, but NO. Life in grad school equals relative poverty and tee times cost money, dearie. Plus, riding the subway with clubs can be a wee bit awkward.
For a holiday this summer, we decided to take a Highland road trip. We decided to drive the North Coast 500 (or most of it) often billed as the “Scottish Route 66”. (1)
Scots don’t really “do” road trips. People here think that a 3-hour drive requires an overnight stay because they feel that distance is more-than-substantial (it’s not) and they stress about driving the motorways (they shouldn’t) and the weather (OK it sometimes rains here). And while the Top Gear boys would have you think otherwise, many people live their entire lives on this island without driving or owning a car. Because owning a car is costly, and public transport here WORKS (something the majority of Americans know nothing about unless they live in metros like NY, DC, Chicago).
Parking is a nightmare, so most people just use the sidewalks for this.
And driving is especially harrowing on streets built by Romans and “improved upon” by Victorians, often just wide enough for two mates stumbling home in a semi-straight line.
But really it’s more that they lack the natural endurance of the Car Culture Americans. Scotland can be called a walking culture. People here WALK. I walk to the grocery store. And to the drug store. And to the library. And to the movies. And to work. And to pub(s). And don’t think for one moment, bitches, that the irony of WALKING my big butt to the gym TO EXERCISE is lost on me.
In the U.S., we do everything in cars. We go to the shops, take our dogs to the vets, visit our Grans, leave our lovers. We work and play in cars. We go on holiday in long road trips. Long. As in more than 5 hours. One way.
Summers, there are RVs and overstuffed SUVs filling our interstates, and yes, there are people whose permanent residence is a motor home, many of them deliberately so. If you live in the South, you use a car/truck to pull a fishing boat or to go hunting or commit acts of vandalism on mailboxes. In the Midwest, you most likely know at least one relative’s story in which Mad Dog 20/20 and the warmth of a car’s backseat was used to accomplish their family planning.
I can’t imagine that any of my dozen fans don’t know what this is, but in case you share my blog with others, MD (Mad Dog) 20/20 is a ready-to-drink fortified wine and fruit cocktail that is high in alcohol and low in price. More commonly referred to as “brown bag vino” it, along with ignorant “Abstinence Only” laws are why my home state historically had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation.(2) #soproud
Scots just don’t spend this kind of quality time in cars. So when it comes to driving, in a certain vernacular, Scots are often referred to as a particular part of the female anatomy.
Or, if you prefer, a synonym for kitten.
And it’s not entirely their fault. In acreage, England fits almost three times into the state of Texas.(3) They lack perspective. And experience.
They also lack confidence and the ability to use turn signals, and merge in roundabouts in ways that would make even someone from Florida (who may or may not have invented the geriatric-no-looking-I’m-coming-anyway-lane-merge) spit with road rage.
So when someone says that Scots are not great drivers, on the whole I agree with this assessment.
And I do so, in fact, from my throne. As my devoted fans know, I am a Road Trip Queen. (4)
I love a good road trip.
There are some ladies, some traveling companions, some good dogs, and few broken men who would all willingly attest to this.
I have driven to the Grand Canyon with a pack of girls, across the desert with a Doberman co-pilot, across the Midwest with a fisherman companion, the strip of I-15 that connects LA to Vegas countless times (my favorite in a minivan full of wedding-bound queens), across the Colorado mountains with one husband, across the Smoky Mountains with another, up the eastern seaboard, covered most of the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona (twice on peyote), and even into the canyons of California, once with no headlights. I have driven across the state of Illinois to get revenge and across the state of Arkansas to get laid. And that was just in my 20’s.
So when Hubby and I decided to see the Highlands of this island, it became quickly apparent that we had to take a road trip. Hubby loves a good road trip. It is in the top 5 of reasons why I married him.
Want to know if a man is a keeper? Go on vacation with him. Mackula gave me Gospel Truth a long time ago. And I tested it (at the time, 20 years ago) with my current man, agreeing to go on holiday together after dating him only a few months. At a beach resort. All inclusive. Read: No Escape. When things didn’t go exactly as he wanted them to (Hello? Have you ever traveled Anywhere? With Anyone? At any time Ever in history?) he became as ass. He was an ass to the airline steward, an ass to the resort staff, bitched about every little thing, and was such a nightmare that I actually drugged him the last two nights so he’d crash early and I could enjoy room service with some peace and quiet. (5)
Hubby, by contrast, is the mild mannered Bruce Wayne to my Batman crazy.
He was not, for instance, ruffled when we were asked to pay a dollar deposit for the remote control the 1988 Zenith 20” TV in a Knights Inn somewhere in Tennessee, two nights after we’d wed. That’s right. One Dollar for the TV remote. Keep your island honeymoons, bitches, MY man made sure the pistol was loaded and handy in the room after agreeing with me that the bleach and fresh paint smell was most likely covering a recent crime scene.
That’s right. We have a Bad Ass Romance.
Crap Scottish drivers? Lorries barreling down thin Highland lanes? Fear of midges that swarm in cartoon-like clouds? Sheep as common motorway impediments? A 1993 Sat Nav unit that is stuck in Spanish? Puh-Lease.
Maps to castles, golf courses, distilleries, and Highland beauty you can see no other way? Bring it.
COMING SOON: Highland Road Adventure Part One