I have been insanely busy this week. I have imposed a pretty strict writing deadline on myself, which means that I am working on my current novel in every spare moment I’m not asleep, eating, or at work. If only there were more of those spare moments! But I am making good progress, so I’m happy, albeit tired. The sleepiness has led to a new talent, at least; I’m well on my way to mastering the art of yawning with my mouth closed, just like a Roman senator.
However, all of this writing means that I haven’t really planned anything for this week’s blog post. Time for some random stuff!
Something I learned this week:
Until the late 1700s, people travelled on the left side of the road. For a feudal and often violent society, this was the practical choice, considering the majority of people were right handed. If some sketchy looking ruffian came toward you on the road, at least you had the comfort of knowing he’d have to pass by your dagger hand.
This changed in Revolutionary France, thanks to the pride of Napoleon. Apparently, he was left-handed, so his armies had to march on the right side, in order for him to keep his sword arm between him and any opponent.
I have to admit, I don’t quite see the logic here. I understand the symbol of him riding fiercely at the head of the army, sword aloft, but if they were attacked by a group of the aforementioned sketchy ruffians, or a group of soldiers, I really don’t think he would have single-handedly fought them off while his own army stood idly at his back. Maybe I am underestimating his sword skills. Or perhaps the fact that we are discussing Napoleon is the logic.
Anyway, after that, British Empire colonies travelled on the left, and places colonized by the French preferred to travel on the right side of the road.
When America became independent, they made right-side travel official (parts of the US, like Louisiana, had been colonized by the French so it wasn’t unheard of), and they were also eager to cast off reminder of the British colonial past.
Eventually, the rise of American vehicles, which were originally only made in right-hand drive, meant that many other countries adapted to right-side driving.
So, now if you hear someone pondering why certain countries drive on the left or right side of the road, you can dazzle them with your knowledge. You can thank me after they’ve rolled their eyes and called you a nerd.
Lastly, here is a cool idea that my friend sent to me. Someday, in some far away, nearly unimaginable future where I have some time, I will make these for my yard.
I’ve done a couple of history posts in a row now, so I’ll try to do a writing one next week. If anyone wants something in particular (synopsis writing? More querying stuff?), let me know!
If you want to read more about the history of right-vs-left of the road travel (and of course you do):