Sunday, 30 October 2011

a page from "Living with the Natives" by Dr. V. Settled and Mr. J.J.C Smith

                                                      CHAPTER 3: DRIVING

Super fast reflexes and lightning fast reactions.

Sensitive hearing. must think for and anticipate every move of the others.

Pilot-grade eyesight.

Ability to think on your feet.

Must be cool, calm and collected.
Must have stamina.

These are not the attributes listed on an ad for a superhero or secret agent.
Far from it.
These are skills you must possess to be able to drive in Accra or Kumasi. ( I'm pretty sure these skills are transferable). The natives drive in a manner only they understand. The roads signs and markings are for beautification of the city and are apparently not in actual use.

When you set off from home you need your sensitive ears to decipher what the honking horns are saying: "get out of the way, you idiot!" or "I want passengers". Do not be alarmed.
You need to think for the other morons road users, especially trotro and taxi drivers. These people seem to be very well trained in the art and science of infuriatingly artful stupidity on the road. Most of the razor sharp reflexes and responses will be employed to fend off their lunges and crossings.
Alternatively submit to them, a few scratches or near  accidents may occur plus longer journeys.

You need stamina to survive the mind numbing traffic. Manual or automatic, porshe cayenne, Bentley or nissan bluebird '(A' registration) "obiara ny3 obiara", (as the natives say). We all stand still and fume, literally and figuratively. The old trotro to your left will provide thick black smoke from its exhaust that you will smell through air conditioning and tightly shut windows.
You need to be cool, calm and collected or you might develop a heart condition at worst, very high BP at best, if you're a regular commuter-driver. Failing this you may morph into the Hulk (green tint not included with humans with melanin) when road rage takes over. Let me add that without the green hue your brilliance may not be recognised and you may resemble a screaming idiot.
The excellent eyesight is needed to spot potential nonsense before it happens. You probably need xray vision but failing this having your wits about you will suffice. More often than not there is only a split second indication of what the driver is about to do. Your xray vision must spot this from metres or centimetres away so you can respond accordingly. (Used in conjunction with super fast reflexes)

The ability to think on your feet is two-pronged. There is no chapter on walking/pedestrians because i do not advice or recommend it. The life of a pedestrian is fraught with danger and maybe short; the end maybe brutish. When you find yourself on your feet,THINK and get into a car. At least the surrounding metal will protect you better than your own skin. If you must walk be quick&careful, especially when crossing roads. Remember that the Zebra crossing may be one for beautification and not in actual use