Mar 5, 2007

Fun and Games in the Street

Last night Omar, after having slept most of day, confessed to me that he is very nervous about driving in town. The other day, a car cut through an intersection, just as Omar was driving through it, and nearly caused him to get in a wreck. Apparently it nearly scared the life out of him. He spent a good part of the next couple of days thinking about the fact that people will put their lives in jeopardy to get to a party on time, to beat the next guy to the light, to get somewhere ahead of the crowd. Then a day in bed to sort it all out, I think. It bothers him so much that he dreads getting in the car now. I wish he understood that I went through that same kind of fear from the first time I experienced traffic in Peru, and still do.

One day not long ago, we had some friends in the car with us, and we were just next to a bus that wanted to move into our lane. For some reason, Omar continued to stay parallel with the bus and did not give one way or another. The bus began to move over in spite of our presence in the lane. The friends began to laugh and I freaked out. It was a game to them. We did speed up and pass the bus before we were squashed between the bus and the retaining wall, and the friends shrieked with glee. Lili screamed "Kathy, you're not going to die today!", laughing all the while. I ended up with a huge migraine and went to bed for the rest of the day. Omar didn't understand at the time, none of them did. I was furious that they would play a game so dangerous and that they had such little regard for their lives, especially when I was involved and I DID NOT want to play. I was furious with Omar for putting himself and me in such a spot and not giving it a second thought. I think Omar does understand now, though. Maybe because none of the friends drive, they did not take anything seriously. Maybe they assumed that they would be safe because someone else was driving. Maybe they really don't care about their lives. Maybe they are resigned to the fact that they have nothing more to look forward to than the rut they are in right now. I don't know.

Anyway, it has come home to Omar why I react the way I react, why I was so unwilling to participate in something that puts my safety at risk, and that he has the same reactions when he encounters someone who does not care about the risk they put him in or themselves. Not such a bad realization, as far as I'm concerned.

It's an idiot that will risk all to beat the next guy through the intersection.

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