While I was driving to work this morning some bigwig from some traffic-related department was informing the entire audience (estimated at three, as there are about that many people in Johannesburg right now) about how the Christmas road safety campaign was coming to an end. This will be followed by the Easter campaign in which punishment for reckless or drunk driving will be escalated significantly. If you get caught, there is a chance your licence will be taken away from you and you will have to start the process from scratch – learner’s permit through to the test.

I think this is an excellent idea. There are too many men out there with small penises who drive badly to compensate. And there are just as many sexually frustrated women doing stupid things. I don’t know if there is a relationship between the two, but hey, who knows?

(Image from meamscifi on Flickr)

But it also poses a serious problem. While passing your learner’s licence is relatively easy, getting the actual licence is a bit like going into Mordor.

The first challenge is reversing out of a parking. Anyone who has been driving for longer than six months will lose the ability of finding his or her own way out of a parking bay. This is because there is always a car guard around when you leave. And there is no avoiding them and their enthusiasm in showing you how to manoeuvre out of the space.

Another issue would be negotiating potholes. Over the past three years or so, most of the roads around South Africa have started to resemble the surface of the moon (if you can imagine a tar-coloured moon). If anyone can tell me what the correct procedure is for getting around or over a pothole when you’re doing a driving test I will make you a sandwich.

And these are minor…
(Image from SweetDaddyP on Flickr)

78% of licensed drivers do not know how to use their indicators. Apparently you need a degree in physics to flick a lever up or down. So, statistically only about 0.005% of people who have to redo their licence will be able to pass.

Therefore I would like to appeal to everyone to drive carefully. Lives will be saved, and even if you’re just a total jerk who doesn’t care, the administrative nightmare of getting a new licence is just not worth it.


I’m a Toyota person now

I have joined the ranks of Toyota drivers… Yes, we are the ones who like practical and reliable cars that will probably outlive us.

My Toyota it a T3 Yaris. And while I don’t like the gearbox very much and I think they shouldn’t even have bothered with the boot, it’s a really good car. Yaris Logo

The first thing that came to mind when I drove it was functional. But it was comfortable and it felt natural to drive, so I bought it.

And the inside is not entirely unpleasant

Then came the week of buyer’s remorse. It’s a lot of money to spend on one thing. Then came three days of paranoia that the dealer would run off with my money. Then the car arrived.

And it grows on me daily. It’s a bastard in traffic, but everywhere else, it’s a delight. And it’s a good looking car. And a definite upgrade from a completely basic little Opel Corsa. As much as I love Molly and always will, I finally have a grown up car. It will probably be good for me too – I won’t be tempted to drive like a teenager anymore, because, to be honest, the Yaris doesn’t stir those feelings in me. Instead it makes me feel more mature and sensible. And I feel a bit less out of place driving through affluent areas now.

It’s not a bad looking car either. I was looking at it, with the pearly rain drops on it this morning, and I thought, hey, that is a nice looking vehicle. Then I gave myself another mental pat on the back while I admired it a bit more. Good job Lee. And now there is less than 0 doubt that I got the right car.

Nothing like blurry backgrounds to set off that colour.

I look forward to my drive home, in my sensible car. I will feel mature. I will appreciate the reliability and functionality.

Yup – Toyota has changed my life a little. I’m one of those people now.

I’m a Toyota person now

Six Weeks

I haven’t blogged for a long time. It’s been a crazy six weeks.

I had a magical weekend in the bush.

Marico River
A very special and beautiful place

I crashed my car.

Opel Corsa
My beautiful, wonderful Molly - gone forever!

I got a new car.

Silver yaris
And it looks a bit like this.

I’m still settling in at Mediology and I’m still loving it – but they keep me busy.

I got accepted into a Masters degree.

So I'll be studying again.

And I have a bursary from the AMF.

And it’s all coming together today. Life is good.

My face right now.

Six Weeks

5 Things that are Overrated

It’s been ages since I made a list. So here it is, the five most overrated things I can think of right now.

  1. Ramen. In its defence, it did come out of a packet and didn’t have English cooking instructions. I still wanted to feel like a ninja while I ate it. Or at least like an animated character in a popular Japanese TV series. Neither happened. In anticipation for the day that it does, I am obsessed with Ramen, but it doesn’t make my hot list.

    Ramen will probably drop off all my lists really soon
  2. Twilight. Badly written books translated into worse movies. Teenagers now think vampires sparkle and have self-control. I would much rather watch a D-grade rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in a sauna than sit through the A-listed Eclipse in an air-conditioned cinema. And I have less than no interest in reading about the cotton count on Edward’s sweater.

    Vampires are all about cuddles afterall
  3. Having a full time job in a recession. Yes, I’m really lucky to be employed and even more lucky that my job is stable. But I can think of a lot of things better to do with my time than sit at a desk for 10 hours of the day. Like hugging an angry porcupine.

    Oh, hurray - there goes my life.
  4. Having my car washed for me once a week. But only because in his thoroughness Edmore ‘re-adjusts’ my side mirrors. It drives me *#%@&%$ nuts! Just like the bits of lint on the bonnet.

    Clean car vs annoying lint = I don't know what I want anymore
  5. Jelly beans. These are exciting for about two minutes. Then they roll all over the place, fall on the ground and contain so much artificial rubbish that they make you want to vomit rainbows.

    Don't be fooled - they look friendly, but they will hurt you
5 Things that are Overrated

Everyone has Something to Say About Taxis

Everyone that drives in Johannesburg has something to say about taxis. Granted, there are many things to remark on and the general consensus is that we hate them.

But this morning I started thinking about what it must be like to be a taxi driver.

Firstly, you need to be irrationally fearless. It has to take guts to drive a vehicle held together by chewing gum and masking tape down a highway, even if the top speed is only 75km/h. And there must be bravery involved in never using your indicator and braking suddenly. I hate braking suddenly; I’m always worried some BMW X5 goes up my car’s ass, forcing her nose into the back of the truck in front of me. These are not happy moments and my brakes work a lot better than those on a taxi.

And what about the fact that everyone around you hates you? It can’t be fun to have strangers, who don’t even know your name, swear at you from the moment you start work until you knock off. The only people you interact with are your passengers, and they only do this because they are dependent on you to get them around. This can’t do much for your self-esteem.

South Africa Taxi
And there is no aircon either

Then comes job satisfaction. I imagine taxi bosses that look like Jabba the Hutt and probably behave in much the same way. Room for growth is limited to a change in route and if you don’t make your target you are likely to lose a testicle. There is only one perk of the job, hawkers don’t harass you to buy sunglasses when you clearly have a pair already and no one asks you for money at an intersection, but if you’re any good at what you do, you’ve jumped the light.

If you really think about it, it’s a really dangerous job and there are no benefits. These guys transport a huge chunk of the South African population, and I don’t know if many people thank them. I think they work under a lot of pressure and do okay considering the conditions they find themselves in. They drive the way they do because they are frightened half to death and probably haven’t had a hug in ages.

I’m not going to go around hugging taxi drivers and I’m still going to stay as far away from them as possible. But they are people, and if you really think about it, their lives really suck.

Everyone has Something to Say About Taxis