Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our morning drive


No one wants to go to Din Daeng in the morning.
The trick to surviving Bangkok traffic is to never expect a clear roadway. Instead, one should always expect the worst of all possible conditions: Your exit will be backed up for 20 minutes and you will be cut off every time you try to change your lane. But you should take a fatalist attitude: Whatever will be, will be.

People on the Long Island Expressway, for example, may approach their morning commute as if they think things are always going to go well. Then, they get angry when they hit traffic, steam impatiently as they sit for 20 minutes and become aggressive when things finally get moving. Why not approach the trip as if you know it's going to be terrible? Then, you won't be surprised when it is. You'll keep your blood pressure down.

This is how I do it in Bangkok.  A lack of traffic is a pleasant surprise. The presence of backups is expected. It allows me to take pictures and think up blog posts. Because I am going so slowly, I can get a good look at a man striding up to a yellow taxi that has just rear-ended his pickup truck. I watch workers piled into the backs of other pickup trucks, battered ones with cages and roofs, their hair whipping in the wind as they are driven to their construction sites. I can remember things I forgot to tell my husband and call him to discuss them. I can notice that the driver who noses in front of me has a license plate frame that says: "The spirit of competition."

A working car. A full tank of gas. A sunny day. Time to dream.

2 comments:

  1. Haha, really one can't but accept 'sea of cars' as something unique to BKK :-)

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  2. I just stumbled upon your blog and this entry, and this struck a chord. I'll remember it on my daily rides to pick up my son from school. Thanks for a little bit of much-needed zen in my driving life!

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