Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Curse of the Road

I like to keep the language pure in the vicarage. It degenerates occasionally when the Vicar loses his keys, but the children have developed a range of wholesome culinary curses for use in extremis. 'Fromage frais!' yells my daughter when Ribena streams across her homework, and 'Fudge!' or 'Fried fritters!' if we can't find the remote control before 'Strictly Come Dancing' (NB: strange how they all start with 'f').

My efforts, however, unravel on the road. 'Bugger!" said my then two-year-old when she grasped the wheel of her new Little Tike car. I erupted. 'I have to say it,' she replied reasonably. 'I'm driving!'

White Van Man, advancing mercilessly down a narrow side streets, provokes from me adjectives that would make a docker blush. Three-lane roundabouts,  unexpected filter lanes and anything involving the London North Circular turn me loud and foul and empurpled. My mother friends, contrastingly, sing along serenely behind the wheel to High School Musical and diffuse back-seat battles while negotiating three-point turns.

Maybe it's a testosterone thing. A visiting vicar relates how he was gingerly conveying his mother-in-law through a stressful conurbation. 'That was a tricky round-about!' she remarked. 'That's the f***g round-about,' piped an infant voice from the back.

So far my children respect the irrational schism between Car Mummy and Kitchen Mummy and do not mine my vehicular vocabulary for domestic use. They regard it, rather, as a necessary part of driving.

Playground insults, banned by school staff, have far more resonance in childish minds. 'You f***g idiot!' rages my brother when an Audi cuts him up. 'Daddy!' says my niece. 'It's very, very rude to say 'idiot'!'

14 comments:

  1. I'm totally cracking up laughing here.
    I have a mouth like a washer woman on a Monday morning, and my kids will ofton say ... Mommy you need your mouth washing out with soap.
    I have to agree with them, and thank God they have never repeated anything I say, as far as I know.

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  2. Funny how you can say 'Tchaikovsky' or 'Schopenhauer' until you're blue in the face and not a flicker, but say 'bugger' once and it's permanently wedged in the five-year-old vocabulary.

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  3. We discovered that one of ours thought his car seat was closed with a bugger (not a buckle) when grandad tried to strap him.

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  4. Ha ha. It was when I had the word shit repeated back to me, by my then 18 month old, that was when I realised I had to change my ways.

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  5. Hehe! I too become a foul-mouthed harridan when I'm behind the wheel of a car! Fortunately, the toddler hasn't picked up on any of my choice phrases.....yet!!

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  6. As soon as my hands clasp the steering wheel I get a surge of Tourettes & testosterone.......
    I once had the son of the local vicar in my car - who informed us of the choice language his daddy came out with when he was driving!!! Made me feel much better..............

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  7. It must be a Church thing then! Come to think of it my brother is a church warden...

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  8. A five year old pupil once put the whole class into shock with this swearing. I, the teacher, hadn't heard the offensive word but was soon informed that Hugh had said "Bottom".

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  9. mine say 'bloody' and then collapse in a heap giggling.

    They get it fron their father!

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  10. My daughter once looked at me impishly and said 'I know what the F word is.' 'Do you?' I said, alarmed and playing for time. 'Yes, it's elephant.' Am now more worried about her spelling than her language.

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  11. My 22 month year old said bugger bugger bugger with perfect phonetic pronounciation the other day!

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  12. Oh, heck, Older Mum! She'd probably heard me driving past with the window down!!

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  13. My husband, usually so easy-going and swear-hating(if I swear he tells me to stop "effing and jeffing" - he's only 31 by the way) turns into a foul-mouthed grump as soon as he gets behind the wheel. My 17 month old announced a new word the other day. It begins with f and ends with k. I blame the roadrage.

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  14. I am a Primary School teacher in a lovely little C of E school, and if I used a fraction of the fruity language that I reserve in the car for white van men, people on mobile phones negotiating busy junctions, non-residents clogging up parking spaces on my street etc. then I'd have lost my job years ago! My husband calls me the Tourettes Teacher because of my lexicon of swear words. Thankfully, I cycle most of the time which generally maintains a sense of equilibrium and calm!

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