Saturday, March 07, 2009

toot toot

I don't know what happened tonight, but the traffic in town was crazy. Not busy. Oh no, not busy in this part of the world on a Saturday night. Just crazy.

I was suddenly transported to a place where the traffic is really truly crazy. Istanbul, Rome, London, Manilla - cars moving in every direction, all seeming to move or stop as one but all on their own individual journeys. And in those moments of crisscrossing paths, eyes dart, horns honk, fingers salute, hands thump the steering wheel in frustration and everyone eventually arrives where they want to be. Or (as the case may be) not.

I remember in Istanbul, drivers sitting with their thumbs poised just above the horn, ready to honk at a moments notice. Same in Manilla. The noise was phenomenal. An assault to the ears. A constant barrage of mayhem invading my skull. It was blessed relief to duck down a quiet side street or close the door on all the noise.

Sometimes I have been known to attempt to recreate some traffic mayhem here in quiet Tasmania. I've raised my finger in salute at the unsafe driver speeding past as I dutifully abide by the speed limit. (I did this until one day a girl leered a salute of her own back at me and I realised just how unattractive the whole look really was) Occasionally I toot my horn in disgust. Once I even reached over and honked the horn for Frank, much to his mortification. But mostly I have tamed the driving, raging beast within. I drive like a true westerner: calmly, sedately, by the rules. It's all very safe, if a little quiet and just a tad boring.

So it was something of a thrill to have a valid reason to honk the horn this evening. Like I said, it was crazy. I was on my way to see 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' with a few friends. We mistakenly arrived early and headed to a bar for a drink of water (detox you know). On the way a lady drove past us up the street the wrong way. I will admit the city layout is confusing here, with one way streets running every which way all over the place. To navigate them you must have your wits about you. This lady obviously did not. Everyone started yelling and carrying on and watching with dread before she safely u-turned and went back from whence she came.

Picture my incredulity when, driving home from the cinema, the car in front of me attempted to turn up another one way street. What is wrong with the world tonight? Are there not enough street signs and do I simply not realise this because I know which way the traffic flows? One way street - you drive down it people. Fearing a terrible accident I fell with glee upon my horn and honked out a merry warning toot. It was all over quickly. They heeded my warning, tooted back a thankful reply and we all drove off to our warm and inviting destinations. Well at least I did.

Ah, safe at home with no chance whatsoever of coming across any more befuddled drivers. What a relief!

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At 11:43 am, March 09, 2009, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

The moon, it must be the moon! I had to giggle a little at the thought of you reaching over to Franks side of the car to toot the horn. I hope you both got a good laugh out of that one!

BTW I love your new profile picture!

At 7:06 pm, March 15, 2009, Blogger Mike S said...

I remember those streets you mention all too well every time the need for a trip to populated areas is required here. I think Rome, all of India, and Korea were worst. I agree with Sandy & I'd love to have a photo of the episode;)


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