I got caught doing something slightly embarassing while driving again the other day. It's become such a habit, almost a reflex, that I forget that others might see and wonder what I'm doing, wonder if I'm crazy. You see, I was throwing a bubble, a protection bubble actually, at a passing motorcyclist. Ah, now you're wondering too, so I'd better explain...
I'm not a great driver, or at least I don't like driving, and I get lost a lot. Mostly, it's an attention-span issue, I get bored and start thinking about something else, or singing (imagine "Me and Bobby McGee" belted out at top volume, with the convertible top down), and I forget where I'm going. Learning to drive on the other side of the road when I first moved to the UK didn't help, and the behaviour of motorcyclists, driving between traffic lanes at high speed, made me a nervous wreck. I was afraid I'd change lanes and take one out. So one rush-hour last year, after about the fiftieth one whooshed by, an idea flitted through my head. In kind of the same way that you say "bless you" when someone sneezes, I'd start throwing imaginary bubbles of protection at motorcyclists. Not that I'm superstitious, or think I have magical powers, but it seemed like a way of channelling positive thought vibes in their direction, which couldn't hurt. So I started throwing bubbles, at first surreptitiously, then without thought.
The technique I developed looks a bit like making a loose fist, then quickly spreading all the fingers, as if flicking water off the tips. It's been mistaken for a wave more than once. To do it properly, the cyclist must be in my line of sight, and if someone is driving really erratically, or traffic or the weather is particularly bad, sometimes I'll send two for extra protection.
I know it's all silly, and looks crazy, but it makes me feel better. And I wonder sometimes, if more people were sending out positive thoughts to fellow travelers, instead of being so caught up inside our own steel bubbles, if there might be a drastic reduction in road rage and accidents. Couldn't hurt to try, if anyone wants to join me.