Saturday, September 3, 2016


The Indonesian driver is always in a great hurry. It is the first, and I suspect the only applied rule of driving here. You must do it quickly, and, whenever possible, unsafely. Apparently each driver finds himself in the grips of an emergecy, where great speed and recklessness are required. Perhaps he is rushing to a hospital for one last word with a dying mother. Perhaps he is dangerously late for work, or late to a high level government meeting. Perhaps his house is on fire. Or perhaps there has been a zombie outbreak. Or perhaps he's just very hungry and wants to get to the warung, caution be damned.

Whatever the case may be, his hurry causes him to do extrvaganly unwise things. Running his motorbike on the sidewalk, for instance, which may itself be crowded with frustrating obstacles such as fruit stands or bakso carts, or, indeed, pedestrians. Quitting the sidewalk, he veers into the oncoming lane, and does quite well until oncoming traffic, equally in a hurry, decides it wants to use that lane as well, and quite reasonably so.

Now, all the Indonesian drivers in a great hurry are going nowhere at all, for they have created a situation wherein forward progress in either direction is quite impossible. They scratch their heads, they honk their horns, they rev their engines, but all to no avail.

And so they stare in wonder. They light cigarettes. They chat with simmering neighbors until someone can come along and get this knot undone.

In any case, tomorrow is another day. What's the hurry?

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