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I am a Writer, Artist, Musician and Philosopher who believes the reason to be alive is to learn, experience, grow, influence and if you're lucky, inspire.

I've created this blog to introduce my own literature to the rest of the world in the hope that it will - and I will - in some way, make a difference.

There is a quote by a Greek philosopher, Epictetus, which I love: First Learn the Meaning of What You Say and then Speak. I believe in making life as meaningful as possible, and that is why everything you find here was created with meaning which I believe, in turn, gives it the power to inspire.

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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

LIVING - Road Rage

Road Rage by Nathalie Kyrou

Only the other day, I witnessed an incident in the parking lot of a Limassol superstore which left me stupefied. Two adult men, rolling around on the floor of the car park, throwing punches, and all this over who gets the parking space! I thought I may have been hallucinating, (this kind of nonsensical violence doesn’t really happen in Cyprus, does it?), until I heard that a friend of mine had witnessed another shameful display of aggression on the Limassol-Nicosia highway. Apparently, there was a car pulled over on the side of the highway, and one man was dragging another man out of the car, in an obvious and asinine attempt at bloodshed. As if that were not enough, my sister just told me that she recently saw a woman in the passenger’s seat of a car, slapping a man’s face (as if that weren’t bad enough), while he was driving! Absurd!

It seems that road rage in Cyprus is in full swing. You have to be very careful these days who you make eye contact with, let alone who you hoot your horn at, because you never know what kind of deranged person you’re dealing with. Now this wouldn’t be a problem if everyone knew how to drive (and park) on this island, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Nevertheless, take heed: practice a little temperance if you want to arrive alive.

It’s true that you need to have the patience of a snail with the eye span of an eagle to drive in this country. The minute you’re not concentrating, somebody is sure to cut you off, without signaling (has anyone in this country ever heard of indicating?) If you don’t happen to have eyes on the sides of your head, you may end up needing a new car.

And hello, does anyone get the concept of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ lanes? Roads are designed with two lanes for a reason: it’s called overtaking…so please take your side already! I have had to weave my way down roads, sometimes putting my own safety at risk, all because people simply don’t understand that when they are in the right lane going way under the speed limit, the proper thing to do when a car is right behind them is to either pick up speed, or move to the left. I definitely don’t expect them to ignore me, after I have flashed my headlights at them. What’s worse is when you move to the left and overtake them from there, they follow you and stick to your behind, blinding you with their headlights in a malicious attempt to piss you off! (Seriously, it’s enough to get anyone mad, isn’t it?) If you’re guilty of having behaved with such hostility towards another driver, then maybe instead of renewing your membership to C.A.A next year, you should consider joining A.A.A (Automobile Aggression Association).

I’ve noticed the papers have been filled lately with letters complaining about the driving in Cyprus. People are aware of this problem, it seems, but rather than do something about it, they moan about it or laugh, but finally, accept the way things are. Sure the police are cracking down on illegal road acts more and more, but the truth is, although speeding tickets are being given out like there’s no tomorrow, so are driving licenses. And people just don’t follow the rules, no matter what the consequences. Cyprus has experienced some of the highest international rates of road accident fatalities for decades, and yet it still goes on. We need to put a brake on this now.

Nonetheless, this is not just another article about how careless and reckless drivers in Cyprus are…we already know this. The point I wish to make is that we should exercise the right balance of restraint on the road, by not indulging in displays of anger, violence and revenge, and by showing some courtesy to our fellow drivers. It’s not a matter of driving slower or faster; it all comes down to driving - and behaving - better. Be aware that there are others on the road as well as you, drive politely, and pay attention. Put down that mobile phone, stop eating, brushing your hair, smoking, trying to park on a double-yellow line or pavement, racing another driver through a red light, yelling at your passenger, checking out the person in the Mercedes in the lane next to you, or beating someone up, and for goodness sake… just drive!

Nathalie Kyrou © 2009. All rights reserved to the author.