Wondering & wandering
Dear Cape Town Driver
While I am in as much awe of your beautiful city as you are, in fact, I think it’s so awesome I even moved here, I just don’t feel like it gives me permission to drive like a total twat. Yes, I said twat, because that’s the word my mother would use and her vocabulary seems particularly fitting on this occasion, seeing as I feel like a 50-something-year-old white woman the way I’m bitching. That aside, why don’t we look at some of the things that deem you (in your driving capacity, and in my most humble of opinions anyway) said twat:
1. You don’t indicate
Maybe it was just in the Eastern Cape, but when I did my drivers I clearly remember being told to indicate before I turn in the appropriate direction. Maybe the Western Cape was made exempt of this rule back when Hout Bay became a republic, but it is neither fair nor safe for you to just turn here and reverse there without ample WARNING for the person behind you. I don’t know who gets a bigger fright, me, or you when I almost rear end you. But what did you expect? That I’m a psychic?! Which leads me quite happily to my next point…
2. You pull out in front of me
Really? REALLY? Either you like playing games in the traffic and this one is called ‘Let’s scare the shit out of this chick here’, or you’re just a kak driver with no sense of distance. Is it really necessary for you to wait for an infinitesimal gap between our cars to open up before you exit your parking bay/ turn into the road/ jump the stop street? You’re either a bunch of adrenaline-junkies or this is a city with a horrific collective depth perception.
3. You can’t make decisions
So I know South African roads don’t offer us enough options. I agree with you. I mean, what’s with this Fast Lane or Slow Lane BS? There needs to be a lane for drivers such as yourself, who aren’t quite blessed with the resolve to choose between the two. In fact, since I know you love straddling that dotted line between them so much (I mean, why use one lane when you can use two, right?) why don’t we just erase them all together and give you a nice blank slate to work with. No lines, no choices, just you and your beloved engine hovering somewhere in the middle. It’ll be like Mthatha, except with no cows and a lot more beamers.
4. You’re aggressive
FFS, the light JUST turned green and you’ve already hooted. Seriously. I didn’t even have time to BLINK before I’m meant to be cruising off into the sunset like I have a 2L Turbo. No bru, nah ah, give me a second to actually remove my foot off the brake and place said foot on the accelerator before you start jumping down my throat with that trumpet you’ve installed in your vehicle. Also, when that speed limit says 80km on the M3, I AM GOING TO DRIVE AT 80KM! So don’t get all up in my car’s grill when I’m in the slow lane and driving at the legal speed limit. If this was somewhere between Butterworth and Port Shepstone I’d say fine, see you at the finish line. But this city? It’s organised, man. I have had more speeding fines in the space of twelve months than I have in the six years since I got my driver’s! Haven’t you seen the traffic cops on their little motorbikes, blue lights flashing? Dude that guy can write you a R1000 ticket before you can say “It wasn’t me”. And, if those guys aren’t enough, there’s always a permanent camera waiting to flash at your sorry ass. Save me R500. Let me drive in the left lane. Don’t bother me, and I promise I won’t bother you.
5. But then you’re too chilled
Sheesh bru, I know the mountain’s good looking and all (all hail The Mountain) but do you have to settle for 40km/hour on De Waal? Like, I don’t even know how your car moves at such a pace. Mine sure is struggling even though I’m in third. BUT I’M IN THIRD ON THE HIGHWAY. THAT IS NOT RIGHT UNLESS IT’S PEAK TRAFFIC AND I’M RUSHING FROM THE CITY TO THE BURBS. [Disclaimer: I never rush from the city to the burbs]. I suspect this has something to do with the gear system in CA/ CY/ WP vehicles. You guys got half-gears, didn’t you? Yup, knew it. Should have checked that out before I got up and moved here. Silly me. So what’s that, 2 1/2 you’re at? Great. I knew there was something parallel-universy about that car-swag you got going.
5. Stop streets. What are those?
It became apparent to me within my first month in Sea Point that drivers in Cape Town are in a constant state of movement. Like cells vibrating at a higher frequency, you can’t be still at a red robot (always inching forward, always!) and you definitely don’t bother to stop. Why do that when the other guy can? Contrary to popular belief, the stop street is not a gay bar in Green Point. It’s actually a point – stay with me now – on the road at which your vehicle must cease to move. Nuts, I know. Gearing down from that half gear vibe is such a bitch. But here’s the thing: stopping at this point can save both you and I a helluva lotta cash, which I really don’t think the panelbeater needs that desperately. I know you like to treat that read polygon like a yield sign, but you got to move with the times, friend. S T O P. It’s the right thing to do.
While I love this fair city and all its quirks, I must admit to not being a fan of its road users. Oh, you got that, did you? Was it the bitching that gave it away? My bad. But I guess when a city like Cape Town, with its superstar looks and contagious vibe does actually do something wrong, you’ve got to give it a break. I mean, what’s jumping an intersection when you’ve got a 10am breakfast meeting to get to?
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