Monday, 5 March 2012

The Portuguese Survival Guide: Part 1

My Portuguese friend and I were in Glasgow on Saturday night, heading towards a birthday party which incidentally was at Kelvingrove Museum, after-hours, on a Victorian theme. We got into a taxi as we were already rather late and I'm still nursing a hacking cough which oddly has not been improved by hanging around in the cold very late at night.As we got into the taxi, I put my seatbelt on. I often do this, even for small journeys, because you never know when disaster may strike and I tend towards the blackest sort of cynicism. Portugal looked at me in horror.

Portugal: What are you doing?!

Me: I'm being safe.

Portugal: I can't believe this.

Me: (genuinely puzzled) What? If we crash, I'd rather not fly three feet at high speed and break my face on the glass window.

Portugal: You're weird.

Me: I'm normal. And safe.

Portugal: You're weak. And you wouldn't survive in the wild.

Me: I wouldn't survive in.... Okay. (pinching nose)

Portugal: You're not used to pain!

Me: Tell me, how many times have you crashed in a taxi?

Portugal: Well, just one.

Me: Uh huh. And so you're "used" to pain, are you?

Portugal: Yes. More than you.

Me: I see. And just out of interest, are lions and other predators particularly attracted to seatbelts?

Portugal: ....Um.

Me: Because what you're saying is that since I have chosen to attach a potentially life-saving device while I am in a vehicle, in a city, this makes me automatically more likely to die in the wilderness of, say, a jungle.

Portugal: It's just so British of you.

Me: Yes, it's very British of me to prefer my face unsmashed.

There was a brief pause.

Portugal: Can I have some of your lip balm?

Me: No. Having dry lips is important for strength. If I give it to you, it'll just make you weak and then you'll die in the wild.

She may have been mad at me, but at least I arrived at the party safely and with appropriately moisturised lips. Otternator 1, Portugal 0.

Game on.


  1. Ahhhh I think its a cultural thing... in portugal, seat bealts at the back of a car, were never really common and only a few years ago they started enforcing it

    but i do have to say that I agree with "Portugal", the brittish are a little too keen on health and safety :p

    another point is that quantum mechanics will one day show that our thoughts contribute to our future, so i prefer to spend most of my time wishing and thinking of good things rather than being afraid - excitement is not proper excitement without risk ... annnnnddddd I'm still alive! :D


  2. Clearly your Portuguese friend was lulled into a false sense of security by the stop/start nature of the slowly pottling about Glasgow taxi, versus say - the Highland variety whom gobble up distance between any vehicle in front of them in nanoseconds, tailgating them impatiently, then doing the equivalent of the batmobile-grapple turn from the Michael Keaton movies, whilst the passenger tries to act and chat calmly when their face is giving away their true terror!

    Somewhat similar to this fellow's experience:


  3. ..and obviously I meant pootling, tho pottling has a certain charm also :D