This morning while on my way to work, an incidence took place just before the Kawukudi traffic light that got me thinking. I was coming from the 37 Military hospital side with my face pointed toward Dzorwulu. I was a few meters away from the traffic light when a Nissan March Liftback did an impressive maneuvering that caught my attention.
The March was behind me at a good speed, which I thought was a bit unnecessary. I was in the inner lane and there was another car to my side in the outer lane. In a very brisk maneuvering, the March changed lanes and went ahead of the car to my side. I was impressed; this was a driver maximising time and space in traffic. Anyone who knows me knows I calculate time in traffic by the rate of acceleration and the gap in between cars. Drivers like the one driving this March, impress me while those like the one the March overtook annoy me. It is a working day; you cannot drive like the world is on a summer break. ‘Let there be some sense of urgency in your driving’, I always feel like yelling at drivers who take their sweet little time to drive around.
In a split second I wanted to change lanes and follow the Nissan March since the other car, having spotted the Red Light, was not in a hurry to close the gap between it and the March. But in that same moment, I looked past the March to the vehicles ahead of it; there was general cartage truck, Trotros, taxis – which the March was one - and some rickety private cars. The cars in my lane ahead of me were all cool and fairly new, predominated by private cars. I chose to stay in my lane.
As soon as the light turned Green and engines revved, firing and flying off, I saw the March trailing behind. Even though the vehicles ahead of it, which I had underestimated, had fired on by a good distance, the March was not running as fast as I thought it would.
I started to wonder what happened. Then I remembered two things; it had a small engine and it was an empty taxi. By virtue of the size of its engine, wisdom told the driver not to attempt a race with the SUVs and the other mid-size sedans. Obviously, however, the driver was not in traffic to race. He was there to get passengers and did not care about anyone else, whether they were driving at a million km/hr or they were taking their sweet little time. He was only trying to be spotted by passengers.
I was thinking wow, I have been fooled. If I had followed this driver, I would have been honking at him, cursing and binding him in the name of the Lord. I misjudged his initial actions and assumed he was on the same page with me. Do you see how easy it is to misjudge people and their intentions and ascribe certain favours and opportunities to them without taking time to know them better?
We hear of how she swept him off his feet, with her bliss and splendour, her wit and her intellectual prowess. A young woman will tell you how irresistible he was and how his life and dreams were all well laid out and well planned. That is usually before they commit and in a few months of deeper involvement, get to see the real person emerging. Many people have abandoned fledging relationships and marriages for relationships that tickled their fancy and caused the bored butterflies in their tummies to find their wings again without lifting their eyes to see the path to the long term.
I like the way he talks; when he looks at me I can feel that he sees me, I matter to him, I have a place in his bigger plan. I like the way she thinks with me. This is the woman I have been looking for; this is the true lost rib. We heap all sorts of accolades on them because in a lightning moment they have made our legs wobble like jelly.
I was intrigued by the maneuvering of this little car and I nearly changed lanes to be in its lane because I was thinking that if I followed it, I would move faster. However, wisdom and experience has taught me that when you are dealing with humans, do not plan on that single entity itself; plan with all the other variables that make up the collage of their reality. In this instance, it was the other cars in front of it, the fact that it was a taxi and may soon stop suddenly to pick a passenger and the fact that everyone can pull off an impressive maneuvering in a small space in traffic and would suffer in the long haul. Wisdom told me to look at the lane I was in and what it promised me. I was satisfied with where I was.
I know that feeling that smacks you hard across the face when that young man shows up and it feels like you are wasting your life with this rather antiquated-good-for-the-museum man; detailed, boring, conservative, overly cautious and all the antediluvian demons you won’t even find in a Pandora’s Box. It could be you trying to choose between a fairy of a lady and your drab wife or girlfriend who has lost her glitter to the cares and worries of this life and therefore have nothing exciting to offer. Whatever it is, it is you living with the person and knows the heat in the kitchen. However, you may want to look past the impressive entry of that person who is getting your attention and put pen to paper, head to the pillow and see how sustainable their gimmicks are.
Look at the long term and ask yourself if on their own, in the exigencies surrounding them, they can keep doing this for you forever. Is it because life cut them some slack with a shard of time and a wad of money that they are able to impress you or they are in for the long haul? Look at where you stand and where you are going and ask yourself which lane you want to be in. Is this individual an empty ‘Taxi’ that is not going to any specific place, looking left and right bidding their time to be flagged by a willing passenger? Yes, in the beginning, it looked like this guy knew where he was going, but soon you realise he is not really going anywhere. He has all these grand ideas he peddles around, beautiful story about life that he tells everyone and an engagement ring he has shown to a hundred ladies before you. Then the reality kicked in.
Some people are able to change lanes and get their lives back on track, other are not able to do so in the thicket of life’s traffic, fearing someone will run into their car or hoping this taxi driver will soon accelerate. Many people are in such slow lanes because without a moment thought, they fell for the façade and are now caught up in the long term delays. Some people are struggling to follow their dreams but there are many things slowing them down; some are poorer because of the cost they are bearing being in a particular relationship or marriage. Some people are emotionally and physically abused, having nowhere to turn to and no one to listen to them.
A wise man said an unexamined life is not worth living; I will add that an unexamined life, is not worth entering. While you are advised to examine a lifestyle before you emulate it, you are also being cautioned to examine carefully the life of the person you are hoping to cast your lot with before you take that step. In my days, people went home with their partners and had proper assessment done before any further commitment was made because we understood the unassailable truth that what an adult sees sitting, a child cannot see even if he climbs a sycamore tree. In this day, people get pregnant before they bother to find out if the guy is an orphan or an alien.
There is so much hurt and pain going around right now because we have become impulsive, unrestrained and trivial in our thought processes. We fall for the light and the superficial rather than the deep and the veritable and we wonder why there are so many heartbreaks.
There are many taxis in traffic impressing us, and I know you are a helpless romantic for the fast and furious, but please, take time and be circumspective in your choices and your commitment and you will save yourself a lot of heartbreaks. Be interested in your own life, wellbeing and dignity and take time to know people before you commit to them in relationship and marriage. Some people are as shallow as Matrikew slippers and a 90 day probation would reveal a lot.
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