I feel like I’m a pretty good Los Angeles driver. I’m not too aggressive or too passive. I try my best to watch out for other drivers and I don’t freak out when someone jumps into my lane cutting me off, or honk unless I’m in actual physical danger. Not just surprised, but actually in danger, you know, to let someone know that they are about to run into me. I don’t honk if I get mad or frustrated. I’ve been in 2 accidents, or traffic collisions as Police Constable Nicholas Angel says: one I was rear-ended in morning traffic. The other was my fault and I totaled my dream car, the 1990 Acura Legend.
I was not prepared for the drivers within the city of Roma. Oh my goodness, it was insanity. I felt a little uncomfortable at first, but when Amy told me that you have to possess a special permit to drive within city limits I knew I was inside the cars of professionals. It just seemed like madness. It felt like there were 2 gigantic lanes. One going in one direction, the other going in the opposite. And it also seemed like the idea was to fit as many cars as possible into each one of those lanes. It could be 4 cars and 2 scooters all lined up in one lane, barely scraping side-mirrors. I also felt like since there weren’t necessarily designated lanes, the drivers felt like they had less ownership on their spot and didn’t freak out and turn into spoiled babies when someone cut them off. They just took it for what it is, a normal part of daily life in a huge city. I was overwhelmed by the taxis and scooters navigating the roads and just squeezing into whatever tiny spots and blocking other traffic. There is also a center island/lane type thing for a bus system. Sometimes there would be cars in this lane going whichever way they wanted to…but I never saw a sign that said “OK it’s safe to be in this lane now”……It never really seemed safe to be in that lane. And how they ever navigate down the mostly pedestrian sidestreets and alleys without killing or running over anyone is amazing and probably frustrating to be behind a bunch of Italians just making their way down the street, strolling.
I also didn’t see any gas stations until we got a little out of the city proper. And then it was just 2 pumps on the side of the road. Like a racetrack. Cars just zip up to the pump and furiously put gas into the tanks and zoom away. There were a few of these lined up about a block away from each other. But literally just on the side of the road. Similar to a bus turnout lane in Santa Clarita. Nothing compared to the 20 pump stations we have on every corner around here.
Now I can’t wait to get my special permit and learn to drive Roman style.
Currently Listening to: Melt-Banana – Cell-Scape (2003) LP
remarkably-controlled fury indeed