Friday, 29 January 2010

Language Lessons from the DVLA


So, there I was, sitting on the sofa, trying to be productive by filling out the health section of the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) application.  It was going quite well.  I was denying I had all sorts of maladies and syndromes and feeling unusually healthy when question 9 stopped me and my black ink pen in its tracks:
Had I ever had, or currently suffer from, repeated attacks of sudden disabling giddiness?
This was a real question?  Using the definition my American brain had learned, the answer would have to be, unfortunately, yes.  Oh, horror.

Let's see.  There was the time when Chumley and I went wedding cake testing.  The shop was so generous, they gave us six pieces of cake, all slathered in different flavors of italian buttercream icing.  When I expressed interest in the ganache, the cake lady used a trowel to spade a massive portion of dark chocolate nirvana into a styrofoam carry-out (take away) container, and helpfully suggested we take it home.  Of course, I ate the most of the cake and the all ganache with the spork (spoon-fork) she helpfully included.  Next thing I know, Chumley claimed I was levatating off the couch.  I think I was flapping my wrists for some reason, but I really have no recollection of events before the massive sugar crash of 2008.

There was also the ugly Mountain Dew (US soft drink) incident of 2007, where I ignored my heightened sensitivity to caffeine and drank a 22-oz bottle of the high-wattage Code Red on a road trip.  Chumley insisted on listening to a CD by the Arctic Monkeys, and I apparently insisted on percussing him in time to the music with the empty soda bottle.  I am grateful he didn't screech to a halt and force me to do a ninja roll out of the vehicle.

Perhaps I was being too broad in my definition of "giddy."  I asked rational, emotionaly controlled Chumley if he thought I "suffered from repeated attacks of sudden disabling giddiness."  "Only when you come across a roadside fruit stand," he replied.  Drat.  He had not forgotten the incident shortly after our move to England where I screeched the brakes at the prospect of patronizing a massive pick your own fruit farm.  It's not as if I left skid marks on the road, for heaven's sake.  It was serious - they had loganberries. His whiplash only lasted a few hours, anyway.

This wasn't looking good.  I feared I would be barred from driving, purely on the basis of being suceptible to intense joie de vivre.  No wonder the motorways were filled with such grumps.

When in doubt, Chumley consults the atlas about all matters, regardless of their relevance to geography.  In moral quandaries, I consult the dictionary.  To my delight, Merriam-Webster has come to my rescue once again:

Giddy:
1a. Dizzy 1b. causing dizziness 1c.whirling rapidly.
2a. lightheartedly silly; 2b. joyfully elated.

I confess I am only familiar with two, above.  I may have whirled rapidly after the cake incident, but only verbally.  If I did dervish even a bit, it was in the living room and I posed no danger to anyone but Chumley.

Emotional motorists, unite!  I won't have to pursue my discrimination claim any further. I'm elated, but not joyfully enough to be giddy.

2 comments:

ChaChaneen said...

You had me at Loganberries! I brake for B-E-R-R-I-E-S! ha ha

This was so funny, thanks for sharing your UK living! Makes me laugh and laugh.

kathleen said...

I'm waiting for my provisional as we speak!! Frightened.