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Carnival

By Ian Nance - posted Tuesday, 21 January 2014


In a testing tale of highway festivity and challenging exhibition of automotive supremacy, some drivers try to prove their ability by swerving out of adjacent lanes to cut in front of you, whether or not it’s safe to do so.

It's a habit which I doubt is growing in the bulk of the driving population generally, most of whom seem to understand the reason for traffic rules, and tend to go along with them.

But the key demographic which inspires this article is that of the newly-anointed youthful vegetarian drivers; those with red or green 'P's on their plates!

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These identifiers are often tucked riskily underneath number plates (often personalised, such as GOBABY, IRRIT8, SPEEDOG, HOTONE), and equally often as not, covered in dirt.

The machines bearing these proud banners often represent a large proportion of the owner's monthly disposable income, channeled in hefty payments to financiers of freedom, and the display of that investment can be enormously broad in genre, ranging from the humble twenty year old incipient wreck, to the gleaming modern latest sportster.

In any regular mix of traffic you'll see these road runners; that is if you don't hear them first.

Their warning sounds are the throaty burble of the hotted up "sports exhaust", or the resounding thud-thud-thud of the car's audio system, often heard several cars back. This overlay of the driver's ears is to prevent annoying interruptions such as truck horns or sirens, from disturbing the driving reverie of the journey.

Sometimes, the engine's feedback is heard thunderously due to the large opening in the bonnet which may be to allow more air in quickly to the gulping motor, or else to let more of the engine's roaring burst out!

Then, as it draws alongside, squealing tyres pounding the tarmac, you become aware of dark-featured Jarrod or Ahmed wearing the obligatory blue singlet, baseball cap with mirrored sunglasses perched on top, swarthy unshaven face, possibly unwashed, sitting beneath either closely-shaven hairstyle, or else lengthy flowing locks. If the stomach is visible at all, it often matches the face – jowled and fat, whilst heavily-tattooed hairy arms give token protection against sunburn .

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The car is often a classic – of bad taste. Cleanliness is less a desirable factor than show. This weapon, sometimes in the form of a faded red Neurotic Nissan, a Hotted Holden, a Fanging Ford or a Strident Subaru is often smothered in go-faster stripes down the sides, and offensive decals on the rear window.

Sometimes these state that 'Real Aussies Drive Utes', (under which I'm tempted to scawl the suffix "badly"), or they could proclaim what I saw recently: 'Slow as F*ck'. It's interesting that 'Metal Mulisha' seems to be going out of favour, and I've never yet seen a hoonwagen with a sticker proclaiming 'My Other Car Is A Slow One'.

However, I once saw a bumper sticker saying: "I am a vet, therefore I drive like an animal."

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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