London for the weekend sounded like a good deal.
If you are told you need to travel abroad for an assignment you don't necessarily say, "That's a hardship, find some other sucker." Expenses paid, some free days, a chance to explore the city...not a bad deal. I was already in Amsterdam, so I quick flight over to London to enjoy the weekend made perfect sense.
As I was staying just outside the city, the plan was to rent a car, meet some friends for dinner and get the weekend started. So far so good.
Most European city streets are narrow, the compactness of the cars, and the British drivers' penchant to jockey for position offers its challenges. It was already dark, I was navigating quite comfortably I felt, going native, so to speak...all left-side driving and rousing, jocular cheerios. On a side street, I noticed I was traveling behind a meat packing truck, its back door raised so I could see a line of hanging pig carcasses. Watching them swing from side-to-side in the open truck as it bounced along the narrow street was somewhat odd. When I stopped behind it at a red light my first thought was, "Strange that the truck door was left open."
When the light changes to green, I began to move forward following the moving truck when suddenly the open pig truck brakes in front of me with a hard jolt. I barely miss rear-ending the back of it within inches and breathe a sigh of relief. I look up to notice the hanging pig carcasses in the open truck begin to swing from the sudden stop, once forward and then back. They moved together, like pendulum pork roll in a synchronized dance. Before I had a chance to process this weird sight, one of the naked, dead porkers breaks free from its hanging bondgage and lands squarely onto the hood of my car...squeal... bang... thud.
A bit stunned, my first thought as I saw the meat truck begin to drive off, unaware of its lost passenger was, "Ok so, how do explain to my friends that I'm going to be late for dinner because I have a dead pig on the hood of my car?"
When the police came to take the accident report I jokingly said, "I don't think the pig saw the stop swine."
That's when I discovered that London police really don't have much of a sense of humor.
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