Englishman in Nyhavn: Driving me crazy!

When I first moved to Denmark over two years ago, I was convinced I’d encounter a country whose inhabitants did everything better.

Sense vs nonsense
And for the most part, I was right. (God I’m getting tired of saying that.) Us Brits had just been on a decade-long gallivant to spectacularly annihilate everything that made living in the UK fun, with tragedies like Brexit and Boris Johnson acting as shit beacons on our crusade to catastrophe. 

Danes, by contrast, appeared sensible. A willingness to contribute to a cradle-to-grave welfare state, rather than a capitalistic corpocracy fever dream? Ja tak. A healthy disrespect of America, as opposed to some strange, fervent desperation to replicate its most broken political and social institutions? Selvfølgelig. 

Wanting to drive in a manner that doesn’t endanger every single living soul within a 40-mile radius? Well now… 

Bumper to bumper
I’ve been driving in Denmark since my arrival, due principally to need, but also inspired by my phobia of ozone layers. 

And, although it took time, with every passing day I have to admit … I am nowhere closer to understanding why (the fuck) Danes are so goddamn mental whenever they get behind a wheel. 

It costs around 25,000 kroner and four months to learn to drive in Denmark. I cannot be sure what they teach in these horrendously overpriced places, but I can only assume it includes at least seven hours of driving as close to the rear of the car in front of you as physically possible. Bonuses are apparently handed out if said car in front belongs to one Jack Gardner Vaa of Københavns Kommune.  

Motorway madness
A further module presumably exists on perfecting the art of driving on a MOTORWAY while looking directly down and texting on your phone, swerving through lanes of traffic with gay abandon, as I saw most recently only yesterday.

“Oh, Jack,” you say. “That’s just one bad experience, just steer clear of new, stupid, young drivers like that.” 

Cheers, prick, but this was a 50-year-old businessman in a brand new Jeep. I’m not saying he’s smart, I’m just pointing out that the plague of appalling Danish driving transcends all demographics and stereotypes. It would be almost heart-warming, if only it didn’t involve a two-tonne metal bullet careering into me at uncontrollable speeds.

Always a good indicator
While I have the presumed attention of Danish driving schools, if you could find it in your hearts to look up the word ‘indicate’ and then marry some meaning between that definition and the little stick protruding out of your steering wheel? 

Currently, I believe you have been teaching… let me just check the statistics here… oh yes, every SINGLE Danish driver, that this stick is something to be feared. That it must not even be looked at with the naked Scandinavian eye, such is its mysterious, devastating power.

Ruin Paul’s drag race? No!
Finally, the authorities. You have done honestly such a wonderful job of fining me 510 kroner that time I parked my car 8.42 metres away from a corner rather than 10 metres. 

I just have two tiny notes. One, I’m delighted you managed to avoid getting caught up in those nightly drag races that take place on my street. The second is that you could park not-one-but-two Peugeots in the gap I left between my car and the corner, with less difficulty than it took you to write out the ticket, you absolute fascists. 

I realise as I finish writing this that I have become everything I’ve ever hated: an angry white man complaining about traffic. Thank you, Denmark. 

Might as well lean in. I’m off to download the back catalogue of ‘Top Gear’ to watch on my phone as I drive to Esbjerg.