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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Driving Madness

I pride myself on my driving skill. Driving doesnt include parallel parking or for that matter reverse parking. And I prefer an automatic. A sports car is even better. Particularly, if it comes in all black and can be made to stop in less than half a second, from a 100kmph, that is. What can I say - I am a safe driver. I even top up gas when the tank is only half full (Cash outlay may have something to do with this but I think otherwise).

I use indicators extensively, even if there is nobody within a mile on either side. My headlights go up promptly at 7PM (Perhaps even the sun takes this as a cue to begin its long descent). I stop at orange light. I take overly long time to park my car symmetrically within the box. When somebody indicates, I give way. I follow rules - traffic rules.

Funnily, I never used to do any of the above when I was driving in Malaysia. I still dont do any of the above when I drive in India. But anyway, when it happened, I was driving in Singapore. So it would not have been surprising that I would have given way to this BMW as we waited at the red light even though she was in the wrong lane with her nose intruding in the small safety margin in front of me. She wanted to go right or so her indicator suggested. But my passangers had something else on their minds. They voiced their opinions as "What an idiot - Doesnt he know that he is in the wrong lane?" and "Run him over.". I dont know why one always refers to an unseen car driver in the masculine gender but that was an after thought. Right now, because the opinions were ventured simultaneously, all that I registered was to run the idiot over. This thought was, lets say, appealing. So, my car zoomed forward to close the tiny entrance proffered by my otherwise safe driving sense. The traffic light turned green and the BMW turned left even as her right indicator bellowed its disapproval. "What the heck", said the female seated next to me. "Must be a female driver. That would explain.", said her husband from the back before he could check himself. He spent the next few minutes making amends.

This incident caused multiple tangential thoughts in my mind which were soon lost like ripples in a small pond till I woke up with a hangover the next morning. I thought I was missing something but I couldnt quite figure out what. I went down to check if I remembered to drive my car back. Satisfied, the next on agenda was obviously a cappuccino. I went down the entire list of rituals in similar fashion till I had to force myself to confront what it was that I was missing. And so I list those thoughts down:

An unseen driver is always a male driver.

A reckless and unseen driver is still a male driver. Even more so.

All unseen drivers are male drivers until they make "stupid" mistakes when they promptly undergo a sex-change operation and become, guess what, female drivers.

All unseen drivers who make genuine mistakes are your clones. This is because you project yourself onto what you havent seen. When I had an accident in Malaysia, I got down to thulp the culprit and had to politely apologize when he turned out to be double my size.

A city's character can be guaged by the drivers on its roads. And this character is infectious. I follow rules in Singapore. I was a reckless driver in Malaysia. I am still quite chaotic in India.

Other drivers make mistakes. You simply get stuck. This is true even if the nature of accident is exactly the same.

The nature of accident is never exactly the same.

Running them over should be allowed as a hobby with no criminal consequences.