We are in the middle of a fairly stressful period with our eldest having to have tests and an overnight stay in hospital (it's all good; we're on our way to full health now), and the usual work/life go-go-go rat-race. I was in the middle of running errands on Sunday and was madly trying to find a purveyor of newspapers that still had stocks of the local Murdoch tabloid fish and chip wrapper that is flogging free Harry Potter guff with every issue for a week. After trying the supermarket with no joy, I decided to head down to the local shopping strip around the corner and duly left the car park, turned left around the back of the stationary traffic waiting at the lights and joined the right hand turn lane (remember, dear reader, we drive on the left in Australia). All this driving occurred at speeds of less than 30kmh. As I approached the end of the queue, braking as I went, a pair of pedestrians stepped out of the stationary traffic on my left, narrowly avoiding being run over as there was no time for me to react. Luckily they stopped their forward progress in the nick of time.
Now, these pedestrians were obviously of North Asian decent, most probably Chinese, and there is a stereotype in the west of the Chinese being inscrutable. Let me tell you that the following exchange explodes the myth and shows unequivocally that they are just like us, although not in the way that I'd anticipated.
I threw my hands up in exasperation and shook my head at the stupid risk this gentleman and his lady companion were taking when there was a perfectly usable and, more importantly, safe pedestrian crossing not 15 paces from where they tried their real-life version of Frogger. The gentleman in question took my gestures to be an affront to his manhood and proceeded to berate me as he scuttled across the road. I wound down my window and tried to show him the illogical nature of his abuse by pointing out the aforementioned pedestrian crossing and advised him to use it next time. This advice caused the gentleman to elevate his distressed state and then threaten me with violence, but suggested that his lady companion was the only reason I was currently not suffering his righteous anger. I again advised him to use the pedestrian crossing, slightly more forcefully this time. He again told me that I was lucky not be suffering personal injury at his hand at which I again repeated my desire that he use the copulating crossing and then compared his visage to the male sexual organ. He again yelled invective in my direction while his face steadily grew redder. By this time the lights had changed and I sailed off around the corner, cheerily waving goodbye with the finger between my index and ring fingers.
The point of all this is that despite our radically different cultural backgrounds (not to mention our attitude to road rules) we both reacted to the surge of adrenalin brought about by our sudden, unexpected brush with danger by imitating a couple of silverbacks putting on a display of aggression without ever actually coming to blows. Admittedly I was in the safety of my car and he was safely on the other side of the road, so it probably never was going to amount to anything, but the point is we both still reacted incredibly similarly, if poorly, to the situation we found ourselves in. Don't you love humanity?
Anyway, my choice of zen meditation to cope with the vagaries of the world is painting figures. My butterfly-like span of attention has seen me embark on a new project, viz.updating my French cavalry to be more appropriate for the Peninsula War. I currently have a squadron of hussars painted as the 5th, but while they are appropriate for the 1809 Danube campaign, they're not appropriate for the Peninsula. I've now started a new squadron using the same Italeri figures, but painting them in the colours of the 2nd, who were present at Albuera and other battles. I am next planning to paint the glorious Zvezda Polish lancers as the Vistula lancers, the other famous Albuera cavalry unit.
Apologies for the quality of the photos. I couldn't seem to get a compromise between focus and light.
|Elite squadron figure head conversion using a head from HaT's Voltiguer set 8218|
|Officer figure. Some sources show red belts and sabretache, but I went with white belts and black sabretache.|