Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I’m Stupid

Driving through the crowded streets of Cairo, a friend of mine and I got stuck in a small deadlock while trying to go through a one and a half car two-way street. One guy could have just backed off completely and solved it all, but instead, he just held up traffic and kept trying to go forward until, inevitably, he had to reverse into an empty space so that others including himself can move.

This jam was responsible for us running a bit late and so I maneuvered my way through the streets till the main street was at hand. Now as I was approaching the main street, towards the end of my one way street another car came in. Seeing that it was my way and that he had some space to back off (and that the main street was not crowded so he wouldn’t be clipped) I just paused and checked if he would go into reverse. After a little gesticulation and shouts muted by his own windows, he finally backed off enough for me to pass.

As our windows got nearer, he said very calmly, “By the way, you’re stupid.” As I was telling him that he was stupid as well, my friend was said, “It’s true”. He was telling me that I’m stupid because he’d just made a turn and that I had more space behind me, my friend agreed that I was stupid because that man had to back off a bit into the main street and I was saying that he was stupider because he went down a one way street in the wrong direction.

I’ve always thought that the person making the mistake was supposed to provide the solution, but he and my friend seemed to agree that I’m stupid because I didn’t put in an extra effort to correct his mistake. They think I’m stupid because I obstinately and idiotically thought that the road rules were on my side. They think I’m stupid because it would have cost me less effort than him to fix his mistake.

I thought that my friend didn’t know it was a one way street and that it wasn’t stupidity but rather a principle, so I made it clear and this is how my friend replied, “So what? Everybody does it.” Well then that makes it okay I suppose. I must be stupid indeed. It’s alright that people aren’t accountable as long as someone else can fix their mistakes. It’s alright that people break the rules as long as everyone accepts it. It’s alright to accept things as they are because that’s life… I remember in Alexandria before the roads were fixed, people would cross over to the other side speeding and flash their lights at people going in the correct lane so that they move out of the way. I always thought it was only courtesy to get back in the correct lane if you weren’t able to make it… but I guess I was wrong.

I think I am stupid really for thinking that courtesy ever plays a real part in life apart from its existence in books and literature, it’s not deal with your consequences, it’s have people deal with your consequences. Accept things cause everybody does it… well, I guess I really am stupid and that I stand alone in thinking that it means something to stand for something. I stand alone because at the end even though my friend said, “Sorry for the offense,” she added as she left the car, “but you do know that it's two against one.”


N said...

i actually thought for a second, from the title, that you were going to talk about something stupid you did. that would've been fun :)

not alone Will, people just adapt too much to stay sane. persevere!

Anonymous said...

i feel ur sorrow and frustation W. trust me, i do!!! stupidity seems to be the theme of this country...how about some flips to ease the pain??? :)

Wael Eskandar said...

N: I'm serious about thinking I'm stupid. I sometimes do feel stupid for hanging on to trivial things with respect to the big picture.

anonymous v:flips sound like fun just the kind of stress relief i'm looking for :)

Eventuality said...

No, no, no you're not stupid, totally back you on this one. If you do something wrong then it most definitely is not my responsibility to resolve the situation, da elley gayebna wara fel balad: 'ma3lesh ya 3am 3adeeha we 7'alas'. If we stick to what be believe is correct, then maybe, maybe someone will pick up on the correct behaviour.

Once when I was younger, my brother had parked illegally and left me in the car while he stepped out to get something. A policeman came over and stuck a ticket on the car. When my brother came over and asked me why I hadn't tried to tell him not to issue the ticket, I responded "you are parked wrong, I can't argue with that".

N said...

Don't you dare! you know how much of you is about that??!! PERSEVERE!

Anonymous said...

ur not stupid.. all u said is true, and rules should matter.. anyways, u thinking that they do in a country like this would only make u as naive as i am.. we should start that club :)

yeah, and at least u went out of ur way and shouted to the guy, now i can no longer shout cause it freaks my son, so i just stop the car, pull the hand break and start meaningless conbversations with my son until whoever coming in the wrong direction blocking my way switches to reverse :) real bitchy i know, but what i can i do, i have all the time in the world now that i am nothing but a full-time mom :)

Wael Eskandar said...

everything: it's close to being a lost cause ..

N: much of me is about that but I'm not an idealist.

insomniac: I like the attitude, a calm demeanor to prove a point, of course it would be very annoying if you were the one going in the wrong direction :)

Mo said...

Come on, you know doing the right thing is always the difficult choice. And as they say, if 50 million people say a foolish thing its still a foolish thing, but if 51 million said it, then probably not so foolish :).