“Oi! Shit’id!” came an aggressive shout from the car that had been trying to barge me and honk me off the quiet one-way downtown street for the last 50 metres, “If you’ve got a lid, wear one. If you ain’t, get one!”
Welcome to New Zealand, Englishman.
“Please be careful – you were driving very dangerously back there,” I say sincerely, aware only of the perversity of this uncouth type lecturing me on safety when moments ago he’d been endangering me.
Fat guy pulls his car over and steps out, fingers an ID card hanging from his neck and tells me he’s Detective Something-or-Other. (I wish I had a better head for names.)
“If I see you riding your bike again,” he barked, “I’ll arrest you!! Do you understand me??”
The deep red spider veins on his nose (to me a sign of hypertension or alcoholism) and his remarkably angry, loutish manner told me he wasn’t the type to try to engage in reasoned discussion.
“Now get off that damned thing and walk!!”
That was yesterday. First time out on my bike in a month and this is what I get. I’ve never been called ‘oi’ before. Or felt quite so intimidated.
Still a little shaken.