Next Stop: Surving Scottish Roads 🏴
Look right with all your might.
The streets of Scotland can be a dangerous place. Not because of any kind of rampant crime, infectious disease, or all you can haggis eating challenge. No, no.
Because of the roads.
You see, I come from the United States where cars –– in all their deathly shine –– funnel through the right side of the road. Of course, if you know me, you know I’d rather they went the way of the dodo and funneled themselves straight to Hell. But seeing as they’re here, I at least appreciate I know where to look to spot them. It gives me a split second longer to act if someone, say, decides to speed through a pedestrian crossing, blow through a red light, or try to bump me for their deprave, inhumane shits and giggles.
I love Scotland. I fell for it hard after my first visit a few years back, filming a whisky-themed tribute to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting in Edinburgh before heading up to Dornoch to visit a whisky hotel. (I’m actually pretty proud of that little film and it hasn’t really gotten the love I think it deserves, so go watch it.)
Unfortunately, Scotland isn’t immune to the scourge of the automobile. It’s kinda like COVID –– a shitty, wildly annoying, and at times, deadly inconvenience that we all have to get used to.
Even worse, I never know where the cars are coming from in Scotland, hence my interest in surviving Scottish roads. In case you’re slow, I’m talking about where they drive. That is, the wrong side of the road.
And yes, it is the wrong side of the road. I’m inflexible on this. The only countries that drive on the left are in the United Kingdom and are formers colonies of the British Empire. Colonialism is bad, ipso facto, driving on the left is bad. Besides, when you have to paint “look right” in front of a crosswalk, then you’re stubbornly clinging to something deemed illogical by the masses long ago.
But as I said, I love Scotland and I want to see more of it. That’s why we visited a couple of weeks ago. During my first visit a few years ago, I took the train –– a sensible, utilitarian way to travel –– along Cairngorms National Park. Marveling at the hills off in the distance, I vowed to return.
Hitting the streets of Edinburgh, it became instantly clear that we’d need to figure out a way to break our rational habit of looking left before crossing the street if we wanted to make it up to the Cairngorms where we had a trail race to run and some footpaths to hike. Melanie, summoning her nonsensical energies –– of which I’m grateful for her vast supply –– to create the following mnemonic device that I’m gifting to you, dear readers, should you ever choose to do the correct thing and visit Scotland for yourself.
Repeat after me:
“Look right with all your might.”
Naturally, this will only get you to the middle of the road where you’re likely to fall into a panic and start swiveling your head back and forth like a defeated Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robot. I added the final touch.
“Look left and avoid death.”
(It’s a close rhyme. Good enough.)
Roll your eyes all you want at our nonsense. But it didn’t take long for the mnemonic device to sink in, with our subconscious summoning the phrase as soon as we met a street crossing. And we returned to Germany un-smooshed.
Anecdotally, at least one other person told us it was helpful. So there.
Putting Jewish Food in Context
A little over a month ago, I traveled to Budapest to meet with Holocaust survivor-turned cultural and culinary historian, András Koerner, to write a profile on him. You can read that here at Tablet.
Running in the Cairngorms of Scotland 🏴 | Blair Atholl Castle Trail Weekender
If you made it through my nonsense, here’s your reward –– eight-and-a-half minutes of Scottish beauty.
Next week, a sequel to my apparently popular tale from the depths of German immigration.