UnNews:English villages to be wiped off the face of the earth
7 December 2007
WEDMORE, England This little village would seem to be an obviously poor place through which to drive your average large truck. It is in an obscure rural location. Its streets were built in the days of horses and carts. There is no room to pass and no room to maneuver. There are, however, rooms to let by the hour.
In spite of the obvious difficulties, trucks and tractor-trailers come here all the time, as they do in similarly inappropriate spots across Britain, directed by GPS navigation devices coupled with internet dating services, which fail to appreciate that the shortest route to "an easy lay" is not always the best route.
"They have no idea where they are or where they are going," said Wayne Hahn, a local store owner who watches a daily parade of vehicles come to grief - hitting fences, shearing mirrors from cars and becoming stuck at the bottom of Wedmore's lone hill. Once, he saw an enormous tractor-trailer speeding by, unaware that in its wake it was dragging a passenger car, complete with distraught passenger and an overexcited Jack Russell terrier yapping at astounded witnesses.
With villagers at their wits' end, John Sanderson, chairman of the the parish council in Barrow Gurney, a village that, despite being too small to have a sidewalk, is host to some 15,000 vehicles a day - cars as well as larger vehicles - whose GPS systems identify it as a good alternative route to Bristol's striptease clubs and streetwalkers, has proposed a deceptively simple remedy: wiping the village from the GPS mapping.
But, in today's digital world, that is easier said than done.
"We have to destroy the reality - the streets, the signposts and the road infrastructure as it is in reality," said Dick Snauwaert, a spokesman for Tele Atlas, which provides digital maps to portable navigation systems. "We cannot just change our data base. Who are we to make a change and say, 'This town no longer exists' if, in reality, the town does exist? We have to bulldoze the town to conform to our database."
"We'd like them to have routes that are suitable for FBTs," Sanderson said, using English shorthand for 'Fucking Big Trucks'. "I've just come from a community today where a lorry had literally lifted the roof off a house as it rushed to get to an address where a 'hot bi babe' was advertising her services," he said, using English shorthand for 'available beautiful bisexually oriented young woman'.
"We've heard some very hilarious stories where people just blindly follow the GPS instructions," said Vladimir Vostok, a spokesman for the Russian School of Ballet, using English shorthand for 'satellite navigation.' "Like if the GPS says, 'drive into this muddy field,' they think, 'that's weird,' but they do it anyway, because they are so horny that they cannot help themselves."
Last month, a Slovakian truck driver arrived in Dover, bound for Wales with 22 tons of carbon footprints. But, feeling the urge for sex, he was directed off the highway and onto increasingly narrow roads by his navigation system, and ended up wedged on a tiny lane between two houses in the village of Mereworth, in Kent, whereupon he jumped out of his truck, wet his pants, and burst into tears.
"He got back in his lorry and tried to maneuver his way out, but he was starting to scrape against the front walls," a resident, Mark Sniggers, told a local newspaper. He also knocked down the village's power cables, cutting off the electricity, and disrupted the ancient sewerage system in the village. It took the authorities several days to remove his now-mangled truck, but the memory (and the smell) still lingers on.
And Suzy Ladbroke, a charity fund-raiser and a regular advertiser on internet sex-dating sites, who lives on Church Street, Wedmore, said that she has had the side mirrors broken off her parked car several times by trucks attempting to park. On another occasion, a too-large truck became immobilized on Church Street, unable to go forward, unable to back up.
"He was honking his horn and shaking his fist," she said. "I went out to his lorry and I said, 'Do you want to go upstairs?'" She was using English shorthand for 'wanna fuck?'
The truck driver in question was not immediately available for comment.
- Sandra Lyall "Rural Britain wants to take itself off the GPS map" International Herald Tribune (Europe), December 3, 2007