Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Auto-Psychotic Stimulation

I've never understood the saying "Hell is other people".

I could grasp its meaning, yes. I could see where the phrase's author was coming from, sure, but I have never really gotten it. To my experience people tend to be delightful and cheery. No generalist, I've never been the quickest one out of the gate when it comes to denouncements, condemnations or broad pessimism.
From my time here in Okinawa however, I have found that at last I too can vouch to the torturous, racking state of being that is existance - allowing for the following alteration: "Hell is other motorists."

OKINAWAN DRIVERS! GRAGH! I spit those words between my clenched teeth, pressure lines stretching down both sides of the steering wheel as I attempt to bend it in half, on a semi-daily basis.

Auuugh! YAAAAAAAAAG! If I hadn't pointedly decided to refrain from swearing my brains out in these postings I would blister the air. The profanity! You can't even imagine.

I am a bad driver, I will freely admit that. Not a terrible one, but inexpert perhaps and routinely handicapped by my chronic "percieving reality" problem. As such I usually find it incumbent on myself to forgive the trespasses of other drivers. Who am I, of all people, to be getting on a guy's case just because he suddenly merged across three lanes of traffic without signaling. Live and let live, I often quip.

In addition to this, I would like to point out the easy-going, laid-back manner in which I conduct my life. So often do I semi-cataclysmically hobble my own plans, dreams and/or life that I have adopted a widely pragmatic stance toward difficulties, detours and changes of plan. My office is putting me up in a run-down, 3rd rate hotel for seemingly no reason - cool by me. I've never stayed in one before, lets call it an adventure. As long as I'm not physically maimed or, more importantly, someone else isn't unconvienenced, I tend to be content.

But people, there are limits. I count myself lucky for my various abilities above. I have talked to more than one person who has professed that they have been literally reduced to tears or physically screaming out the open window in the face of Okinawan motorists.

A few considerations:

-When turning your car out of traffic, including and not limited too on the middle of the F**KING highway, please do so without coming to a complete stop, and then turning. Just because the drivers seat is out of traffic does not mean the rest of the car is not still blocking the lane. Complete the turn! You are causing problems!

-When stopping your car on the side of the road for whatever reason pops into your head (I have to answer the cell phone!, Oh look at that sunset!, Was that a pine a tree that we just passed?!, I need to touch my leg!) actually pull to the side of the road.

I understand that this is just how traffic words in Okinawa, I understand that pulling over on the side of the street at any place or time is considered perfectly legitmate, but you have to make way.

On the highway there tends to be enough time to swerve into the other lane before
explosively colliding with your halted car, but you have to acknowledge that the city streets here are very narrow. Not everyone drives a shoe box car like you, some people have trouble getting by when you leave your car idling in the middle of traffic to go use the bank. Pull to the side! It's easy, all you have to do is move the steering wheel slightly - the same way you do when you start drifting into the other lane when I'm trying to pass you and then catch yourself at the last second.

- Turn your brights off! Yes I can see that you are very proud of your fancy halogen headlights, but are you trying to kill me? The roads are inky black at night, if you don't turn off your brights I am left light blind in your dazzling wake. I'm turning my brights off for you Mack, care to return the favor? This goes double for old ladies tail-gating me in their high profile SUVs while stuck behind an old lady going the speed limit (30 Kmh/18 Mph) for endless stretches of road. My car is casting a long shadow in front of me, YOU ARE BURNING MY EYES OUT!

-Okinawans are the longest lived people on Earth. This is a fact. The island is stuffed with old women, bent in half with age, women who take a number of minutes to cross the street. Someone either needs to drive their cars for them or stop selling them SUV's. They do not promote a healthy driving environment.



Blogger Chris said...

yup...that pretty much sums it up. here's to the privilege of owning a car :)

3/7/06, 4:26 PM  
Blogger elviegirl said...

GOd .... seriously!! i have new wrinkles on my forehead because of the way these people drive! it's INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3/8/06, 4:59 PM  
Blogger keldog22 said...

Its about damn time you entertained us. We all kno how you feel. May I add what irritates me for a moment??? The kids running about the car freely! As if the car is a playground for them completely unprotected from road raging gaijin like us who just might hit the car in front of us once because we need to release some anger. Grrrr....

3/10/06, 11:21 AM  
Blogger -e said...

right of way!!! that's all i gotta say.

3/13/06, 11:18 AM  

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