Post Traffic Stress Disorder.

Driving phenomena in the Middle East is interesting to study. Time and again drivers in this part of the world conduct themselves in ways which, in America, would cause citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to ventilate the offending motorist’s bodywork.

Traffic can get heavily congested but drivers behave as if they are the only one on the road. For years versatile Mid East drivers have cunningly managed to squeeze three lanes of traffic on to streets designed for only one. Using turn signals is considered a sign of weakness earning you no respect on the road. Every lane is a turning lane. The vehicle in front has the right of way and damn everyone behind. Ramming speed!

Parking is as parking does. Which is to say, everywhere and anywhere. Painted lines in parking garages merely suggest drivers park their rides parallel to the lines and not necessarily between them. It is not uncommon for vehicles to simply stop in the road and the driver to get out to conduct his business. Heedless about blocking traffic, it is all about “me” in the Middle Evil.

Usually I walk to work in the morning. Cab drivers, necks craning like vultures, prowl the streets hunting for fares. Many times I am startled by predatory taxi cabs stealthily coming up from behind and laying on their horns. One time this is will happen and I am going to put a hand grenade through their windshield and claim PTSD.

It normally plays out like this: taxi slows to a crawl upon seeing me and blasts his horn. I ignore him and he honks again in case I didn’t realize he was honking at me. The third time he honks I shake my head vigorously NO where upon he throws his hands in the air as if to say, “You’re a pedestrian and I’m a cabbie! What’s wrong with YOU?”

It’s a Bizzaro world where taxis hail me and I ignore them. A sure sign this part of the world will never have a space program.

Semper Fidelis!
America’s 1stSgt

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9 comments

  1. When you are America’s Sergeant Major of our Beloved Corps you can issue cab grenades to all the pedestrian brown baggers and inadvertently usher in their space program with a pen stroke. Simple solutions for complex problems.

  2. Well, watch your back. Based on my experience in Morocco, the whole notion of pedestrian safety is alien to drivers who practice an approach I think of as “drive random, drive fast.”

  3. Kristina, I tend to perceive things as simply as possible. It’s like a gift really.

    Okie, not sure I’m sticking around the Corps long enough for that.

    Book, the words pedestrian and safety generally aren’t used in the same sentence in this part of the world. In my time here I think I’ve seen police scrape about three pedestrians off the highway.

  4. Your story reminds me of a cab ride I took from downtown San Juan to Rosey Roads. Scared the crap out of me and at the same time — helluva thrill!

    Made the rides from JFK to Manhattan seem quite sane. And that was back in the day when the cabbies all spoke English as a first language. Well, their version of English anyway.

  5. All of this is only topped by driving a 1948 Morris Minor – English shift – in India. I actually had a drivers license and managed to make 2 trips down the the road – the second ended in hitting a cyclist while avoiding a cow. The cow was more important and carried a heavier penalty than the guy on the bike. It is IMPOSSIBLE to drive in these countries unless you have a Striker or Humvee and heavy weapons. I gave up and took my chances as a pedestrian and a praying taxi passenger. I do believe taxi drivers in these countries bring more people to God than all the pastors in the world. Thanks for your blog. It is much fun to read.

  6. Crew Dog, head hunting cabbies? Sounds like there is a good horror story there somewhere. I think the scariest thing about driving (or riding) in foreign countries is not that anything goes but no one cares.

    Lorraine, I have often lamented the lack of a Road Warrioreque snow plow mounted on our vehicles. And welcome aboard! Stay as long as you like.

  7. Take 100km of very straight, four lane divided highway in Saudi. Place, at each end, one (1) sedan, white, Caprice model Chevrolet; occupied by one (1) each, driver, male, Saudi. Start the vehicles off at the same time heading towards the opposite direction, with no other vehicles or camels within 60km of the roadway, in daylight, with no weather whatsoever. Neither vehicle will complete the trip. They will somehow manage to wind up colliding, running off the roadway or both simultaneously. But you know that, don’t you First Sergeant? 😉

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