FORTROSE -- Connor Buckie, 37, simply could not believe his eyes when a suspected tourist failed to return his wave in the perilous High Street stretch between the Co-Op and Boots.
"First you've got the general mayhem coming in and out of the Co-Op," said the Cathedral Square resident and great-grandson of one of Fortrose's four legendary salmon poachers. "Then there's that fiddly bit where Castle Street, Church Street and the crosswalk all come together and the speed limit goes down to 20[mph] before you have to thread the needle's eye. And now this."
The so-called "needle's eye" is created by cars that once parked along the High Street to allow shoppers access to local services without ever having to walk more than 7 feet. The crackdown against this illegal activity reached a climax when the Council decisively painted white lines on the street, thereby making the illicit parking spots legal for 20 minutes, the enforcement of which has been described as "hypothetical."
The price of this convenience is a single-track bottleneck on the High Street. It is customary in Fortrose for drivers in this scenario to give a brief wave of thanks as they pass drivers who have stopped to let cars through. The ritual is concluded with an acknowledging wave back by the driver of the stopped car. The failure to receive this return wave is what drove Buckie to take his anger to social media.
"Rude rude rude these tourists r 2 much 2 cope w bc Im sayin thx and they cant even say thx 4 how nice im bein 🤬😡🤬😡," he raged in a vitriolic tweet to his legion of 11 followers, which includes an account he set up so his dead cat could "talk to me from the beyond whenever she's in Wifi."
Iain Malarkee, 87, of Feddon Hill, comments on the background of 'the wave.' "Common thinking is that it is done out of politeness. But," he continues, carefully logging the number of inches by which each parked car overlaps the white lines, "the local driving habits do not otherwise demonstrate any awareness of other vehicles or pedestrians."
He goes on to reminisce about his days as an assistant flenser on the Isle of Islay, where he noticed that people would never pass "on foot or in a horseless carriage" without giving 'The Islay Wave.' Malarkee observed that this tradition was to identify non-waving visitors, to whom a separate price structure for whisky would be applied throughout the island's pubs.
We asked Buckie what he thinks could be done in the future to minimise the sort of road rage that he experienced. "Nothing short of independence will fix this. And not that SNP rubbish, a proper hard border that runs from Ullapool or maybe, erm, Kyle of Lochalsh or Ardelve, maybe, straight through to Inverness. And they can have the football stadium, you're nothing to me if you don't support Staggies."
This article contains additional reporting by Jess Anderson