When driving in the outside lane of Ireland’s motorways it is inevitable that, at some stage of your journey, you will see in your mirror a sleek, aggressive car approaching at very high speed, flashing its headlights and sitting uncomfortably close to your rear bumper. It will stay there, a seething four-wheeled cauldron of fury and impatience, until you move back into the inside lane. This car will be a BMW.
As I was driving home from the Andytown Road, the evening traffic on Stockman’s Lane was, as usual at this time, jammed solid in both directions. In the opposite lane, one car’s length away, there was a middle-aged man in a gleaming black BMW 3 Series. Through his open window I could see that he had short, tidy hair, and was wearing a boldly-striped shirt. His black suit-jacket hung in the rear window. As I watched, he poked a gold-ringed finger into his nose, hoked out a yellowy snotter, inspected it, and popped it into his mouth. He was still sucking his finger as he crawled off towards the M1.