As a newly located Brit, I have had to learn that driving over here in the USA can be quite interesting. Yeah, yeah! I know that you drive on the other side of the road, but it's not that hard to adjust - IF the car has the steering wheel etc on the right side. By the right side, I mean the correct side, not the opposite of the left side, if you follow.
Then there's the nomenclature that's a whole new language. From a very young age, I was taught that cars have boots, bonnets and bumpers, while cars in the US have trunks, hoods and fenders. (I think I've got that right!) All these facts are quite cute, and will cause a Brit to sigh deeply when trying to talk to the repair shop about car problems.
Then there are the number plates! What's that all about? First, in Florida there are no front number plates, but one may put some affiliation plate on the front. While one appreciates the fact that some Floridians may well want to advertise their favourite sports teams, in Scotland, that would be cause for your car to get severely 'egged'. And that would be on a good day! As this is a family-oriented blog post, I see no reason to enter into any further description of car desecration.
Having dealt with the front of the car, then there's the rear number plate. This is the one that helps the traffic police know where to send your ticket - so I'm told - and we all want to help the police, it's our duty, right? I would not like to hazard a guess as to how many legal styles of number plate are available in Florida, but there are more than a few! I've spent more time trying to decide on the style of number plate I wanted, than I did buying my 'mother of the bride' dress. However, I am now the proud owner of a very personalized number plate that I have requested to have buried with me. Might as well, it cost me enough.
Now let's talk about windows/screens/shields. I am told that there is a legal 'tint' level. I have encountered some vehicles who must surely be requesting a ticket, as the windows were tinted so heavily, one would need a laserbeam to penetrate them. And then there are the gently tinted number plates, too. Just dark enough to be a royal pain for people who need to read them, but just light enough to be probably legal. Sigh!
Now we come to the lights. High beam (is that headlights?), rear lights, reversing lights, fog lights, parking lights, emergency lights and fairy lights. I love the fairy lights! They must be for special occassions, like Christmas, because they are never used for anything to do with driving. Excuse me, what do you mean they are turn signal lights? Ha! I know better! I have seen them used for effect during the holidays, but rarely have I encountered them in our 'Patch' area being used for indicating a change of direction. I am fully expecting the 2013 models to dispense with them alltogether. because we all know that they are optional extras. Don't we?
So there I was.... toodling along the infamous US 19, when I was astounded to see not one, but three cars using these fairy lights! They could not possibly be turn signals, because one car didn't make any turn at all, another was signalling left, from the right hand lane, and promptly turned into a street - on the right, and the third car was mine. I was driving past a store with Christmas trees for sale, .... so I put on my 'fairy lights' to celebrate the season.
After all, let's get those fairy lights synchronized people!