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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.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit that you are the master of trivia. This was amazing!!!

"An unseen driver is always a male driver" - it is because of the oppressive patriarchal values that dictate our world.

"All unseen drivers promtly undergo a sex-change operation and become, guess what, female drivers." - are you a misogynist? In that case, I challenge you to beat me in driving, are you in?

"Running them over should be allowed as a hobby with no criminal consequences." - you have my vote.

PS: somewhere on your blog I read "brake dancer" - oops! did I just put my foot in my mouth :P

Beta said...


No. I am not a misogynist but you are scaring me into believing that you are a feminist.

Brake dancer - Not sure I have mentioned that anywhere. But I am not a brake dancer. Neither on the floor nor while driving :-)

Anonymous said...

feminist - no not at all. all i want to say is driving is totally gender-independent. isnt it about having good control over the machinery at hand? so, my dear friend, i disagree with you when you categorize driving mistakes as feminine. and that's all i have to say in favor of all women drivers out there.

Anonymous said...

I not at all agree with this blog....come to India and there are many examples of men running their cars over others.....

and regarding a hobby, i guess there are much better options :)

Beta said...

I didn't mean any offence.

If it isn't clear from what I write, let me state that nothing on my blog should ever be taken seriously. My blog is an irreverent look at trivial stuff. For the most part. It doesn't necesserily represent my views and simply tries to find a comic angle to mundane things. That comic angle sometimes is self deprecating and sometimes poke fun at others. No racial, sexist or any other ill intentions involved.

Anonymous said...

i think u have taken comments seriously...its just that bumping on or hiting away someone cud be made a hobby was too much.....anyway, continue writing coz u r excellent in it....and as u urself say..."it simply tries to find a comic angle to mundane things"...its actual a relief from the usual boring and crap 10-7 job..

gud luck and keep posting always!

Annoymously said...

Great, so you drink and drive.

As for the rest of it, interesting and entertaining, as always.

Speaking as a driver who thinks she's better than the average male driver on the roads here, your home truths of driving are well said. Also, already eulogized by others here so will refrain from applause. You don't need a swollen head on top of that hangover, do ya? :)

Annoymously said...

One more thing, good to know you follow the rules. I hate reckless drivers. Especially those who speed through residential areas and buildings thinking it's oh so cool. I guess they have no imagination - what if a child ran out suddenly from somewhere?

Beta said...

Hangover because of multiple thoughts running through my head and not because of drunk driving :-)

Anonymous said...

well than i must say that hangover of multiple thoughts is more dangerous than drunk driving!

well, why dont u right one on this "hazards of multiple thoughts in one go"

no need to say that all this comes from ur fans who r awaiting the next post. :)

Beta said...

Good idea. I might take it up.

Anonymous said...

i can contribute one: hazards of multiple thinking: u can not just only kill ur time but everyone else's by thinking multiple things at a time.......thats when u become a time killer......on a serious note: i think i shud take it up as i THINK that i think a lot :D

Anyways lets see, who beats whom.....or who is the most serious and stunning Killer of TIME!

amateur idler said...

Fun post! I know it oughtn't to be as funny as I found it - but unseen drivers are always male to me. Though, bad unseen drivers are still male in my head. For some reason when I inadvertently shout "Jerk!" to myself - just, you know, to relieve tension - "jerk" is always masculine word.

You are so right about roads reflecting cities. LA verses Little Rock, Arkansas? Laughably characteristic.
Enjoyed your post - thanks!

Beta said...

Amateur Idler (Like your alias) - Thanks for visiting and glad you liked it. Hope to see you around.