Friday, July 25, 2003

The Wheel Perverts

As I pull up to traffic lights I have to, unforntunately, stop. That’s a law which is fairly new and fading in flexibilty. I have, of course, the utmost respect for the Law but it does give the opportunity for the unheralded and silent wheel pervert to run his seedy little eyes all over my beloved muscular German motorbike. As you stop they roll alongside you and stare down at your wheels. I have no doubt there is one thing on their minds.

I strain my eyes into the distance and will the lights to go green. I try to concentrate on my breakfast to avoid this unwholesome fellow with his grubby little features and blank stare.

Some encounters are more bizarre than others. On one occasion after I zoomed off to escape one such character into the glory of the greenlight I ran straight into another red. I shifted uncomfortably, glanced back and sure enough, like all of life’s irritances, back behind me, nudging his way through the traffic, he came alongside me again. His eyes once more checking my wheels out, back to front, top to bottom. A little treat, no doubt, for his spank bank. The sun belted down for what seemed like the longest red light in history. I sat. My palms sweating. The fumes filling my noise. His stare unrelenting. The green came and I gasped, my bike too. We shot off together around the chicane by DBP and Tran Phu. I released and stretched out only to see in the distance the lights play the devil, and turn red.

I sat, head down, my engine rumbling. He slid past and pulled up just ahead of me this time and glanced back. I, with frustration, heat fatigue and general impatience was just about to launch in to a torrent of abuse. Then I looked into his eyes. He was smiling, shaking his head and frowing with twinkling eyes. A cocktail of an expression unique to Vietnamese.

“Are you following me?” Was my toned down response.
He shook his head and smiled-frowned some more.
“No, with all that smoke I thought you were making Bun Cha!”
The lights changed, this time he shot off. The Traffic edged off after him. My stalker was a dot at the next set of lights, I could see they were green and he zipped through. I sat on my xe may bun cha. Was this why fat children chased me through my neighbourhood? As I started the red lights went on. A policeman whistled at me to reverse behind the white line. A new law and flexible depending on the hour of day and whether or not it’s raining. As he watched me grapple with my xe may bun cha to get it backwards, he was frowning and shaking his head disdainfully. “Anh co thich an bun cha khong?” I shouted trying to drop a bit of humour into his day. He stood, expressionless but his eyes were fixed on my wheels. As he stood he swung his baton and stood with legs half-cocked.

Quite clearly a wheel pervert in a uniform.

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