Today, as I was about to cross a local street on my way to town, a swish-looking limo drew up to the junction. The driver gave a couple of honks on his horn, which smacked more of "look at me!" than "be careful!" The impression of celebration was increased by the two large pink feathers that stuck up from front of the bonnet. Was this a birthday? A hen do? A wedding? It all seemed cheery and festive anyway, and I grinned at the people inside as they passed.
A few seconds later a second limo passed, also with pink fluffy feathers. Only this one was unmistakably a hearse. The deceased party's name was spelt out along the side in what looked rather like pink and white icing. After that, about twenty more cars followed. I belatedly recognised the feathers as a stylised echo of the plumes worn by horses in funeral corteges of yore. The people I'd been grinning at had of course been the grieving family.
What did they make of my expression? Perhaps they saw it as an attempt at encouragement at a difficult time; perhaps, more sinisterly, as undisguised glee.
The truth is of course that they almost certainly didn't give it a thought, but still, how mortifying.