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Urban Culture

On The Road…

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Being stuck in traffic a lot these days, I came up with a game to keep me busy during the long hours I spend in my car. It’s a simple game actually; it consists of observing individuals behind the wheel. In fact it’s more like meditating, because I take my time, breathing in… and out (in order not to burst). As a result I got to sketch a list of those common practices detected around me.

But before I share my observations, I would like to point out that (regardless of the permanent road traffic) I consider myself lucky to be living in the heart of Beirut, yet I so much admire the people who spend hours to get to work every day. I admire their courage and energy: Kesrouan folks you are my heroes, I salute your bravery!

So as I was saying, when you spend hours driving, you get to notice the different behaviors: the known clichés of course, but you also detect new trends:

Among the clichés is an all time winner “the taxi driver”: comes with a built-in cigarette, arm hanging outside the window, slowing down when the light turns green, honking non-stop, with the traditional “la weyn wasleh madaam”.

In second position we have the truck driver with funny and/or inspirational quotes written on the back of his truck. By the way these guys drive so recklessly on the highway; in their head they’re going to conquer the world for the eyes of this hot actress, whose poster is glued inside their cabin!!

And of course, my personal favorite: “the old lady”! How can you not love the old lady!
But in this urban jungle, other fascinating species have proliferated following the evolution of our society:
The bbm/whatsapp addict (formerly known as the sms addict);
The guy in a hurry, who wants to get there before everyone else;
The overwhelmed mom, with shouting kids and diaper emergencies;
The Johnny Bravo, always in the mood for some lovin’ & The Betty Boop, always in the mood for some huntin’! (Or vice versa).

But as different as they may seem, they all have in common one enemy, it’s a threat called: The “mobylette” dude!! He’s here, there, on your right, on your left, you never know when he’ll appear driving in the wrong direction!! It’s much of an adrenaline rush, as if you don’t have enough reasons to stress out.

So get in your car, put some nice music on, take a deep breath, and remember: You need to share the road with other drivers! Anybody driving slower than you is NOT an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is NOT a maniac!

Roula N.

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