Ammani Pedestrian Perils

الثلاثاء 14 كانون الأول 2010

By Thoraya

Guilt is eating away at the core of my being.

Yesterday, as I drove to work in the rain, I unwittingly unleashed a tsunami of murky brown puddle water on an Egyptian worker walking down the street.

I watched in slow motion horror as a wave of putrid water washed over him. Grimy rain droplets dripped down his jeering face.

At first, his eyes widened into an expression of disbelief, quickly followed by a flash of anger and finally acceptance as he resigned himself to the inevitable suffering of being a pedestrian in Amman.

Such is the wretched lot of those who walk the streets of Amman.

As far as I can tell, blights on the lives of Ammani pedestrians fall into three main categories:

Crossing the street. First and foremost is the peril faced by pedestrians crossing the busy death streets of Amman.

You know what I’m talking about. The initial feeling of suicidal mania as you take the first step across the street. The fleeting respite as you make it to the island. Only to realize that you are now stuck. Stuck between two busy death streets, too scared to move forward yet unable to go back. Eventually, a motorist will take pity on you and let you across the street.

By the time you’ve reached the other side, your heart is pounding and you’re filled with existential anguish about the ephemeral nature of human life.

This is not to mention the verbal abuse from motorists. Every motorist in the city has experienced the unnerving phenomenon of kamikaze pedestrians. Leaping out unexpectedly in front of cars on every street and intersection, these pedestrians have done even more for the development of Amman’s vibrant public cursing culture than the inner-city goat herds.
(My favorite kamikaze pedestrians are the ones that jump out from under pedestrian bridges. They seem to be under the impression that the bridges are there to provide shade as they cross the street.)

Her-ass(ment). This one’s for the ladies. The worst story I’ve heard lately happened to a friend of mine who was walking down Rainbow Street in broad daylight when a boy pinched her ass. He couldn’t have been more than 12 years old. She immediately turned around and slapped him in the face. Quite right too.

Rain. Last, but certainly not least, is walking in the rain. If you ever find yourself having to explain the human concept of misery to an extraterrestrial on a rainy day in Amman, take it on a walk. Make sure it is wearing socks. They will inevitably get cold and wet and continue to squelch in its shoes for the rest of the day. Point and laugh as it attempts to navigate the temporary ponds and expanses of mud that have appeared in Amman’s streets. Then make it stand next to one of the roadside ponds for a few minutes, so it may experience an Ammani tsunami.

In any case, thank God I have a car.

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