When I lived in the US I had a policy that every time I saw a Hummer I would perform the universal gesture of “you are a wanker” at the car (and hopefully the driver – though since they have tinted windows, I was never sure). I’m actually not sure that the “You are a wanker” gesture is that universal actually, which may have saved me from some angry Hummer drivers shouting at me or attempting to run me over. (In case you, too, are unfamiliar with it, place an imaginary small apple in your right hand, and don’t clutch it too tightly. Then with palm and thumb upwards, wave the hand desultorily back and forth in the direction of the object or person being addressed. Know the one?)
A Hummer, by the way, is this very big car that only the terminally inadequate drive. It makes your average Toyota Landcruiser or Ferrari Testarossa look restrained and subdued choices. They do something like 3 inches to the gallon too (for everyone else, that translates as approximately 10cm per 3 litres). They scream “Look at me! I don’t give a shit about anything or anybody” from the top of their huge ostentatious metal lungs. I hate them.
But someone once pointed out to me that they do have a positive element to them. It works like this: In life, in general, it is possible to divide people into the categories of wanker and non-wanker. At a rough estimate, I believe about 6% of humanity fall into the wanker category. However, at first glance it is impossible to tell a wanker from a non-wanker, and a person’s wanker rating is only discernable through prolonged exposure. Thus if you discover that somebody is a wanker, you have already wasted at least a minute or two of your life getting to know the aforementioned wanker. Some wankers are obviously easier to spot than others, but it’s still a waste of a (very small, admittedly) portion of your life. To hear some people tell it, one can actually be married to someone for 15 years before you find out.
This is where the Hummer comes in. It instantly identifies the driver as being among the 6%, thus saving you time, energy, and (possibly) embarrassment. There are extremely few things in life that have the same instant usefulness. Somebody reading “The Daily Express”? Maybe they picked it up n the train, after someone dropped it, and are just quickly scanning it. Maybe they are doing some research on racist scummery in the English press. Someone who goes fox-hunting, certainly, but you don’t see people walking around town in their hunt outfits. The point is you can’t be absolutely sure. Driving a Hummer, however, is cast iron. Even if it’s not theirs and they borrowed it from a friend - it still means they have a friend who has a Hummer. Do you see how fantastically useful they are? It’s like the wanker community are now allowed to wear a big flashing neon sign on their heads saying “I am a Wanker. Avoid me” – and being wankers, they actually go ahead and do it.
I’m not sure if Romania has anything similar to the Hummer as a badge of wankerdom. Possibly driving a car with Bucharest plates, but that would place everybody from that city with a driving licence in the wanker category, which can’t be correct, even if at least 50% of such drivers do seem to be dangerously out of control psychos. Voting for PRM, obviously, but the disadvantage of the secret ballot is that you can’t be sure who did vote for them. I have seen one or two of those Porsche Cayennes around, and they seem like the new Hummer in the regard.