After an incredible debut this summer, one of our NEW guest posters, Sheika Djibouti, is back for another helping of her hilarious musings. ENJOY!
Cars are Not Camels Part Ithnaan, or also “The Preemptive Honk”
Let’s just start out this one with the fact that the Kingdom of Bahrain has been inhabited by humans for roughly, I dunno, a few thousand years. And ohbytheway, it is a tiny island. Several layers of civilizations have been built on top of one another, and for such a tiny island, there’s not much room to move around or spread out. Buildings are packed in, roads are narrow and winding, especially once you get off the main highways and into the villages. Many roads are so small that it’s nearly impossible to have a pedestrian AND a vehicle next to each other. But, life is nearly planned around traffic patterns and construction. If you read my last post, you would know that the drivers here come from all of over the world and lack basic driving fundamentals, and every day driving here is chaos at its’ finest.
Something else they lack? Patience.
The traffic lights here in Bahrain go from green to yellow to red, just like in the good ol’ US of A. BUT. When changing in the opposite direction, they go from red to yellow, then to green. Like a racetrack.
Imagine constant bumper-to-bumper traffic and then the addition of racetrack traffic lights. It’s kind of fun when you think about it; folks start revving their engines like they’re in an F1 race. They get this look in their eyes like they’re mentally preparing for the light to change and how much pressure should be appropriately applied to the gas pedal to clear that junction. Their hands tighten around the steering wheel in anticipation, and once the light changes, you could probably hear a pin drop. Well, not really…
See, there’s always that one (or two or three) impatient guy(s) who thinks that folks may be sleeping at the light and they need to be awakened with a series of irrationally/irrationally loud honks. (So bad I had to make up a word.) These dudes are usually in a hurry for absolutely no reason, and they’re also usually the worst of the worst drivers.
It doesn’t even matter if the light just turned red; these guys want you to pay attention. Beep. Beep beep. BEEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP. You could have the lights timed perfectly; know exactly how much time is spent at each light even, but these guys want you to know that they know that any second the light will be changing and you in the car directly in front of them or several cars ahead of them better be moving in a forward direction as soon as you have the opportunity to do so, so that the junction can be crammed with as many cars as vehicular-ly possible. Or else.
For someone who has no patience (but follows the rules… Safety first, folks!), this preemptive honk mentality annoys me. It’s like someone telling me something that I already know. You know what I mean; you’re a superstar multi-variable calculus whiz (Even in your sleep) and someone is trying to explain to you how to add 1 and 1 together. It’s annoying, right? Well, so is getting that honk before the light turns green. Dude, seriously… I’m paying attention and I most certainly don’t need your assistance. I want to get home as quickly as possible, and everyone is lucky I haven’t already run the light. (I do value my life and would never intentionally drive into on-coming traffic… Maybe on a dare, though. I would consider it for a pair of Christian Louboutins. But only if traffic were moving really, really slow, and I had awesome Frogger abilities. Now I’m off track. Shoes…) Do me a favor and honk after the light has been green for more than 3 seconds and I haven’t made an inkling of movement. Then, I’m probably not paying attention and need a reminder to go. Then, honk to your Hindi heart’s desire! But until then, please… Quiet your horn. Patience is a virtue, folks.
On that note, this will be my last posting from Bahrain. This gal (and her family + a cat) is moving back West, y’all. Life is just as interesting in our Nation’s Capital, and I am sure that I will have plenty to write about!