Most of the time, I enjoy driving. I find it be sort of stress-relieving.
But like I said, most of the time, as I still cannot get myself to find the stress-relief part of driving to work- if anything, it is proving to be extremely stressful. I get in the car every morning and stare ahead at the fateful intersection in front of my house for a minute trying to choose one out of the four routes that I can take to the office.
If I go straight, I take the Culture Street route, which is the shortest and usually quickest way to Wadi Saqra from Shmesani, only problem being the three traffic lights scattered throughout. If I’m lucky, and I’m not most of the time, I get to the first traffic light when it’s green, and the other two will consequently turn green within seconds. Otherwise, I stop at each for a few minutes, making the shortest route the most time consuming. On intensely crowded days, the Culture Street route can easily become unbearable- yesterday for example, I stopped on the first traffic light four times before I finally managed to slip through. This route remains the least stressful one though because once the street lights are over, I just go straight ahead and reach Wadi Saqra without further interruptions or annoyances.
But the truth is, I do not like being in a stationary car, I would rather take the longer route yet not stop at traffic lights, which is why I sometimes decide to go left at the intersection rather than straight. Going left takes you deeper into the one-way streets and zillion stop signs of Shmesani, where the car is put into drive-stop-drive-stop-drive mode. Take a right turn, wait for the cars coming from the other side to pass as the street only fits one car, take a left turn, HONK at the idiot who doesn’t stop at stop signs, take another left, wait for a few minutes until another two-way street that only fits one car has enough space for me to pass, take a right, stop at an intersection of a main road for 3 minutes until someone is nice enough to slow down and let me drive through straight ahead, and then finally get to the street between the Interior Circle and the 4th Circle.
This part of the route is easy. You fight a little with some idiots, but for the most part, you just keep driving until you get to the 4th Circle, which is very easy to maneuver, and then continue on to Zahran Street, which is usually filled with idiots who think they can get away with driving between the two lanes, but with enough honking and tailing, things usually work out.
But then you get to the 3rd Circle, which is a complete and utter nightmare. Between the suicidal idiots who don’t know how to use their signals and breaks and the shitty and dangerous urban design of the network of streets on the circle, I cross my fingers and hope to not get hit by anyone every time I drive into the 3rd Circle from Zahran Street.
Which is why I sometimes take the third route, which is exactly the same as the second route except that I skip the 4th Circle turn and take a left to a traffic light that leads to Amaret Bank Il Iskan, and then take a right to find myself right after the Interior Circle, where there’s a tunnel that leads to Wadi Saqra. The problem with this route is that there’s always an idiot cop making the traffic jam much worse, and he usually stops me for a few more minutes more than the traffic lights of route one.
The final route is one that I have yet to take, because it seems too long to go around Shmesani to get to the Wadi Saqra traffic lights. I do consider it every day though.
Choices, choices. During my daily drive to JU for those four years, I never really had a choice. There’s only one route from Shmesani to JU, and that is through the University Street. Because of the lack of choice, I had taught myself to enjoy driving on University Street, a very impressive trick I believe because I now cannot call up a single ounce of that enjoyment. When I drive there these days, I spend its entire stretch cussing out bus drivers and yelling at cabs.
I guess I’m going to have to condition myself to start enjoying one of the routes to work, because the drive isn’t really that bad when compared to finding a parking spot downstairs. At JU, I had learned to fit my car into the tiniest parking spots available. Here, I am learning to park it randomly, then close my eyes, cross my fingers, and hope no one hits my car.