Today was going to be a good day. I’d leave early. Be Super Productive. Get a pedicure. Pack for the cruise tomorrow. Be awesome.
And my plan started well: I left home at 7.20am (calm, serene in my timeliness) instead of 8.15am (running, gulping coffee, forgetting lunch). The petrol light went on almost as soon as I pulled out of the driveway, but why worry about that because at this time of day I’d zoom into work, zip into a petrol station, and zap into the office, all before 8am.
UNTIL. I forgot in my naivety that I am CURSED to arrive at the office at 8.50m NO MATTER WHAT TIME OR ROUTE I TAKE .
Another reason I was leaving early: I planned to drop my friend at the Gautrain. I thought I’d be clever and miss the abominable 9th street; where a two minute trip can turn into 20 in a jiffy, and take my sneaky sneaky back route and find my way to the station from there all the while cackling with glee as I skipped the traffic.
Like the intro scene to a zombie movie, I barely heard the radio presenter saying there was an accident on a road I didn’t even know affected my route. I persevered regardless until I came to a. Dead. Holt.
Cars sprawled in front of me like a scene from The Walking Dead.
My petrol light blinked alarmingly as I realised my short detour might not be so short. With my phone’s GPS on, I took a turn into unexplored territory, and was lead back into the chaos via another back road. All the back roads were clogged, like a cheap toilet. Ten minutes dragged into twenty. Cars started losing their moral compass and tried to drive down the oncoming traffic lane to get to the front (WE CAN SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING! DO YOU THINK THE REST OF US ARE HERE ON HOLIDAY? DON’T LET HER IN! DO. NOT. LET. HER. IN!) Cars turned even when they shouldn’t, blocking up three lanes as they sat across the road, waiting for the traffic to move forward enough so they could squeeze in.
I suddenly imagined my car running out of petrol. On this single lane back road. With cars stretched out for miles behind me. With no way to get around. I got very, very scared. I had 50km to get to a petrol station on my reserve tank, but does 50km also equal 40 minutes (I checked my cell phone clock despondently and bleated a sad, worried Whatsapp to my boyfriend), or longer, in traffic? I had no idea.
I could be lynched.
Or worse, yelled and hooted at by angry Joburgers in cars (getting in a car starts a change from human to Transformer Rage Monster).
Eventually I decided to go the looong, traffic free, way to station. But even the normally traffic-less routes far away from the accident (found myself silently cursing the idiot who crashed before 7am) were backed up.
50 minutes later, I felt increasingly like Crazy Eyes as I drove PAST my work. I gulped back a silent sob; the Gautrain did not that way lie.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful; after popping into a petrol station and dropping my maaitjie off at the Gautrain I got to work at exactly 8.55am. Needless to say, I self-medicated with Milo and Smarties as soon as I could.
Finally, I understand the rageful Joburger. The Joburger who hoots when you accidentally do something wrong in traffic. The Joburger who cuts you off, the Joburger who won’t let you in (DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TOOK ME TO GET HERE AND NOW YOU WANT TO GET IN FRONT OF ME???), the Joburger who will never admit it, but drives just like a taxi driver. This is why a man got OUT of his CAR when I was trying to turn a corner and told me to go quickly because the cars behind me didn’t want to wait any more (I wasn’t taking long but the car before me had taken their sweet time). And this is why, when you take a Joburger out of the car, they change from a tangled slinky to a braai loving, beer sharing, smile having, friendly human.
This is also why we should all ride donkeys into work.