Traffic Pattern
29 November, 2012
Traffic  Pattern
Remember the adage ‘Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are’? I have a habit of quizzically changing proverbs, maxims and dictums. This particular one would probably be smart-mouthed by me as ‘Tell me what kind of a traffic pattern you’ve got in your country and I will tell you what sort of a people you are’. How about that! Let me take the bull by the horns and make my key statement at once:
the traffic in Georgia is offensive and violent.
Defensive driving, as a traffic notion, is not familiar to us. We only know and do offensive driving. This is our habit and style, and change is not being foreseen any time soon in the nearest future. This is at least what my perception of the situation is dictating right now. Violence in traffic – aggressive driving, brutal manner at the wheel, dangerously rackless onrush of cars, vicious language from inside cars, violent finger messages out of the vehicle windows, wicked horning, ferocious passing, belligerent beaming of lights from the rear, deafening screech of tires off of the asphalt when taking off, crooked parking, arbitrary stoppage at one’s own stupid discretion, and nasty exchange of evil epithets between the drivers – these are all usual and commonplace here. And if a traffic pattern could be deemed as a reflection of a societal model of behavior, then our traffic pattern is a direct description of the people we are and the society we are patiently living in. Well, for me personally, patience means fist-clenching and tooth-grinding, accompanied by accelerated heartbeat and imminent hypertension. Yes, it really is hard to have to live with the traffic pattern, perpetuated in this country, which also happens to be a vivid picture of general human behavior in our culture. People in everyday life definitely behave exactly as the cars and their drivers in traffic. For example, a pedestrian crossing the street in a wrong place is violating a traffic rule in exactly the same manner with which the people at the wheel are speeding and jumping the lights or changing the lanes without their indicators on. Actually, the wrong crossers of the street are bigger potential killers than the drivers themselves, although they might qualify only as suicidal violators. What is happening with our national consciousness when it comes to traffic pattern? Why do we find it so difficult to obey the rules? Why can’t we understand that a law-abiding citizen is a generally accepted phenomenon of this century around the world? At least, this is an ideal towards which the civilization is tending to move. Where does that proclivity of ours to violate law so lightheartedly come from? Why is it so agonizing for us to confine ourselves to the dictate of law? What’s going on, esteemed members of jury? Once, I asked a psychologist the same unanswered questions. And I think I received a very farfetched answer: ‘Historically, the Georgian people had to defend themselves against permanently assaulting foreign invaders (Who hadn’t?), as a result of which a rebellious attitude against commandment as such has been nursed in our national psyche which could not have been cured very easily’. OK, granted! But for how long are we going to look and behave this weird? Is an out-of-line pattern of conduct our most beloved hobby? Do we depend on those funny pranks that much? What statehood and democracy are we talking about, I wonder.
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