Curse Word!: An Ode to Driving in Jordan

Jordan, I love you!  I love your landscapes, I love your food, I love your people!  But the one thing I don’t understand is how a country that could produce such lovely, friendly, hospitable people, could produce such … (what’s the most diplomatic word to use here?) … “creative” drivers and road infrastructure?

Rather than pulling up to a stop sign so that their front bumpers are on the white line, your drivers artfully align their back bumpers with the white line.  I probably shouldn’t complain, because at least your drivers stop at stop signs.  But those of us in the right lane literally have to swerve completely into the left lane to avoid colliding into cars idling 3/4 of the way into the intersection.  

And speaking of intersections, I love it when your drivers pretend that their cars are intersection islands.  Parking a car in the intersection and leaving it there for hours at a time is a thoughtful way to guide the rest of us drivers into a proper right hand turn.

Continuing the topic of intersections and islands, rather than opening the islands at intersections, making left-hand turns possible where someone would actually need to make a left hand turn, your city planners felt that we needed to perfect our U turn skills by opening the islands in the middle of the block.  Why make a simple left-hand turn when you can U turn it instead?

And last on my list of intersection delights is your drivers’ propensity for laying on their horns the second the light turns green.  Why wait your turn in silence as drivers begin moving forward at a green light, when you can enjoy an entire chorus of honking horns?

Furthermore, it warms my heart to see an adorable father tenderly holding a toddler on his lap as he is driving down the street.  Just think, in the U.S., that child would most assuredly be taken from that father and placed in a foster home.  I say, why bog down social service agencies with this kind of thing, when there are real criminals out there?  Let the toddlers steer their SUV’s in peace!

There is a theory among westerners who live in Jordan, that the street painters opt for watercolor as their paint of choice when applying lane lines.  After lanes have been painstakingly painted, they seem to disappear after the first sign of rain.  Watercolor is the only logical explanation for how they seem to disappear so soon after application.

And because there are no lanes visible on streets, Jordanians creatively turn two-lane roads into four or six-lane roads.  They’ll even make a lane on the sidewalks if it’s feasible.  And it’s always feasible!

But Jordan, my very favorite thing about driving your streets is your love of using speed bumps on your highways.  What’s more fun than hitting a speed bump at 60 miles per hour?  I just love the way my minivan goes airborne for a split second –testing the skills of those Japanese suspension engineers.

So Jordan, when it appears that I’m cursing and gnashing my teeth at your drivers and your roads, know that I’m doing it with the greatest of love and admiration.  Driving your roads is more fun than playing Mario Carts or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.  In your country, I’m able to get my video driving game fix on real roads.  Thank you for that! 

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