I’m not sure if it’s like this in other countries of the world, but it’s an ongoing mystery to me how people transform into the most self-righteous bigots when they climb into a car.
I’m not talking about taxis – they are an issue all on their own. Only India comes close to comparing with Africa, but on the streets of both, there is one rule when it comes to taxis: the vehicle can and will do whatever it is capable of.
Those who have experienced it will know it. It’s harrowing if you’re driving in the company of taxis, but if you’re actually travelling in one, it’s a spiritual experience. Why would anyone pay R350 to jump off a bridge with a bunjee rope attached to their feet? The thrill is all over within a few seconds. Rather, catch a taxi from Durban to Joburg, where R120 buys you a three-hour thrill you will never ever forget.
But back to this self-righteous issue – people who own a car seem to be susceptible to road rage. A turn of the key in the ignition is like a switch to the subconscious mutant monster that lies dormant in most humans when they are not in their cars.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of our world today – we’ve gotta go somewhere and we have to get there immediately. Instant information, instant delivery, instant food, instant everything… all at our finger tips, and if it’s not, then we have a tantrum. The world revolves around us, especially when we get into a motor car.
Ever noticed how anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and anyone who drives faster than you is a maniac?
Traffic has been very conjested lately. The mornings in this little town are bad… seems like there’s been a population boom or something, because cars are jammed up for ages. The roads are just too small for the amount of traffic on them now. It’s been so bad, that a pedestrian is considered someone in a real hurry. One guy even got a flat tyre, got out and changed it, and didn’t lose his place in the line.
The afternoons are just as bad: the only way you can change lanes is to buy the car driving next to you! A young Indian guy tried exactly this… that is, he tried to bargain my car off me, and in the process, we got chatting about the state of traffic congestion.
“Maybe if we called the SAPS and the traffic police it would help,” I suggested.
“What!?” he exclaimed. “What they gonna do bra? Sit around and chow doughnuts ek se. They rock up in teams of three and do nothing.”
“Teams of three?” I asked. “Why teams of three?”
“Bra, surely you know… the one cop knows how to read, the other cop knows how to write, and the third cop has to keep an eye on those two intellectuals.”
Gotta love it here… there’s always some interesting information to be found on the streets.