Driving in Barbados…

 It seems there are certain things one must occasionally suspend belief in or fears about so to best stand a chance of coaxing or tricking oneself through the experience. A few of my own examples that require such suspension –
  • The spiders I imagine to be lurking in every crease and darkened crevice gleefully rubbing their far-too-many hairy little legs together in anticipation of their planned Legs-apalooza, crawling-all-over-me-in-the-night-festa. This twitchy little fear needs suspending each time I visit my family in the country, one reason I slept all of maybe…3 nights during the entirety of my high school years spent in the area. No, really…
  • That after entering a cab in NYC you will eventually find yourself deposited at your destination in something akin to one piece. Note: I say New York instead of San Francisco because A.) actually getting a cab anywhere other than in and around Union Square in S.F. would be a feat in itself and B.) if you do manage to get a cab, it is highly unlikely the driver will have ever heard of where you would like to go or have any idea in the known universe about how to get you there. “Huh? The Golden Gate Bridge? Do you know a cross street?” Like so.
  • One’s own driving abilities in Barbados on roads that often seem frightfully narrow and fringed with forbidding deep tire swallowing gullies on the shoulders. The death choice is yours. (I choose cake please.) These roads are black hole-ishly dark by night and must have been created by those who have what could only politely be called, a fetish for roundabouts. Sharing these same roads are other fledgling right-hand side drivers on holiday, bus drivers with skills possibly only learned from the cartoon physics manual (wildly taking hairpin mountain turns on 2 wheels!) and local drivers that are, on the one hand, largely generous in giving way and forgiving beginners their egregious roundabout errors but on the other hand maddening in their propensity to stop right in the middle of the road with nary a warning to perhaps let someone out or just chat a bit with a friend. I often stomp my imaginary brake pedal when Bill is driving for this reason.
In regards to driving here in Barbados at least, I can say it is all part of the fun and adventure of moving to and living somewhere that is different from home. Also part of that fun is taking note of these differences and trying to process them through a logic that is in no way compatible to the logic used in their creation, i.e. what you think will be, won’t.
An official-esque-ish looking road sign will offer options for going this way or that and you might initially (and naively) think you are on a main-ish kind of road, you may even see the ocean below you and believe (gullibly) that because you have seen the ocean when you made the turn and it looks to be fairly close and a fairly straightforward shot to your landmark that this road will lead you there, no questions asked. Oh no, there will be questions all right. Such as, “Am I still on the “main” road?” “After all those turns, am I even still headed in the right direction?” “Did that pothole damage my car?” “Am I now on a goat path?” “Should I ask that goat?” The good news is, (and I think the goat will concur) most roads will eventually take you out to somewhere, though perhaps not in the “why aren’t these roads more grid-like?” bleating of your foreign wishes way. So I guess what I’m learning here is – don’t reflexively seek the horizon, it isn’t always where it’s at.  Appreciate everything you may find on whatever smelly goat path you have recklessly chosen that day. Love the road you’re on…

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