"Perhaps the most famous opening lines by one of the world's great authors were those penned by Jane Austen in 'Pride and Prejudice':
'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.'
I recently came across those words again and began to wonder what manner of witticism might one of the famous Bronte sisters from Haworth come up with today when talking about men, women and their wants. As I mused over this question, my mind instantly went towards one of those totally inexplicable situations that every man has to face many times in their lives as a consequence of their partner's compulsive drive in wanting to shift immovable objects. They may have wrote:
'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that any man in possession of a good car and a bad wife who drives, must be in want of his head examining!'
What brought this thought to mind was a black post which stands about a metre in height and when it remains in an upright position, can be found at the bottom of Main Street in Haworth on the left-hand-side corner as you drive down the famous cobbles. This post was placed there around three years ago and to the best of my knowledge, it has been knocked down by a motor vehicle taking the bend too sharply on at least four or five occasions. The word (which I received from a unimpeachable Haworth source),is that on every occasion it has been a woman behind the steering wheel of the car that flattened it! Now, I know from my own limited experience that my wife Sheila is very attached to that particular post and has kissed it a few times on driving past.
The more I thought about this, the more I had to admit that women drivers exercise one particular kink in their behaviour that would never be found in a male motorist. Wait for it, girls..............When a woman driver collides with anything or anyone, whatever it is they collide with is invariably 'stationary' and is in danger of causing no particular threat or harm. It matters not, be it a post, road bollard, traffic policeman, old confused person or whatever; if the object or person is 'stood perfectly still,' you can bank on your good lady to hit it! Indeed, I'll go farther. Not only can they be relied upon to hit it and knock it down, but they'll even have the cheek to blame it for having been there in the first place!
But if ever a feral field mouse, escaped sewer rat or myxomatosis hare suddenly bursts across the road in front of them as they are travelling in a stream of bunched-up traffic at 40mph in a Friday evening rush-hour, they won't hit that poor creature. Oh no! The car brakes will automatically be slammed on; cars will swerve across the highway threating to flatten old women on walking frames and squash innocent children walking home from school. And as the deafening sound of screaching breaks and piled-up vehicles behind you reverberates in your passenger ears, your wife will smugly sigh in relief as she prides herself on her good driving for having 'missed it.'
The moral behind this story is clear, as any male with a woman who drives will know. If you ever have occasion to be on Main Street in Haworth (or for that matter any street), and you notice a car approach and it's a woman driving, 'Don't stand still' while she passes by, as that is the most dangerous position of all you could adopt. If wise, you'll take a long deep breath and get out of there as fast as your feet will carry you; satisfied in the knowledge that if it moves in a woman's presence, it's usually safe!
I can almost hear those female groans of 'male chauvinist pig' being uttered by some of you as you read this post. If that is so ladies, consider this. Why is it whenever you go in the lounge and catch your old fella with his feet up on the sofa having a breather and a cool beer and doing no harm to anyone, does it automatically make your shackles rise? Why is it that seeing such a sweet sight makes you feel it to be unnatural that someone should be 'so still' when you aren't? And why is it that you feel compelled to land him with some meaningless chore to carry out there and then which could have been easily carried out another time? Just kidding ladies. Have a nice day...... but let met know in advance the next time you take the car for a spin down Main Street." William Forde: April 17th, 2014.