Thursday, July 15, 2010

Anybody who has been to Fez lately knows it is hot here.  Very hot.  And nothing wears on heat-stretched nerves worse than driving in Fez.  I have been on wheels for over a year now, yet I am continually shocked by how inconsiderate local drivers are and how absurdly willing they are to risk injury and property damage and even death just to be FIRST.  This is, as far as I can tell, the point of driving.  It is not to get to a destination, but to get "there" FIRST.  Cars jam up at the lights and intersections, pass each other on narrow streets, drive on any side of the road and hog any open space that will gain them a centimeter over somebody else. It doesn't matter where you are going as long as you are leading the pack.

Pedestrians are a pain in the a-- , too, since they are convinced green lights are for them and they also have a right to the road.  They weave in and out of the traffic, step in front of cars and fall off of curbs and never look in the correct direction for oncoming traffic.  And the newest thing in Fez is for young women to link arms and stroll slowly down the middle of the traffic lane.  This morning a giggling trio of young women was egging on some good ol' street harassment in the middle of intersection where two pedestrians were killed in the last year.  Thank heaven nobody was coming up behind me or the cafe on the corner could have served us all up for lunch after we landed in their kitchen.

There are no speed limit signs anywhere in the city even though it is "known" the speed limit is 40.  However, the real rule is to go as fast as you can as space permits.  If somebody is in your way, blast the horn and shout insults.  And of course, just drive down the oncoming lane and shout insults at them, too, while flashing your headlights to get them out of your way.  Another effective way to get ahead is just drive between two cars. What's a little lost paint on somebody else's car?  Knocked their mirror off?  Oops!

Despite this urge to be FIRST, the thing nobody seems to realize is that traffic is clogged and people are frustrated and pedestrians are hostile because everyone is so UNwilling to cede the right of way to another, even when it is their right of way by law.  I never thought about this before but a perfectly executed MERGE is a beautiful thing! 

Driving in Fez is just take, take, take and take some more.  For a culture where time has so no value and little meaning, this appalling behavior on the road is bizarre to say the least.  Shame on all of you!!

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