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The Al Gilkes Column – Gone to the cows


by Al Gilkes

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When I am driving I don’t mind having to move extraordinarily slowly behind a man walking his dog until there is enough room for me to pass and continue at my normal speed.
In fact, a few days ago I was forced to do likewise along Sobers Lane in The City when I unexpectedly found myself on the tail of a man walking two cows.
Don’t ask me where a man would keep two cows in that part of Bridgetown because if you are familiar with Sobers Lane, you would know it is impossible to picture where, given the very limited square footage on which houses sit, there would be enough space to pen one cow, far less two.
But there they were, two very healthy looking, full-bellied brown cows walking side by side and occupying too much of the road to allow anybody except a cyclist or pedestrian to pass. Eventually, they were encouraged to walk in single file and I was able to move on and resume normal speed.
I appreciate such situations and do not get upset when other road users, for one reason or another, restrict my movement to a crawl.
In fact, only on Thursday I was driving along Rendezvous Road in a line of traffic that was hardly moving although, as far as I could see ahead, there was nothing beyond the first vehicle to cause any congestion. Yet, that vehicle and all others in turn were forced to wait for a break in the oncoming traffic in order to drive around something in the road.
When I was close enough to see what the matter was I found that the back-up was caused by a woman walking towards us. The problem was that a lot of water had settled on the side from an earlier downpour of rain and she was intent on not letting anybody splash her with their wheels.
So, rather than walk on the far side of the puddles where there was no sidewalk and expose herself to the possibility of getting drenched, she decided to walk in the middle of the road. And it worked because the only alternative to driving around her would have been to run her over, which was totally out of the question.
I came across a similar situation, this time with a man on a bicycle on Martindale’s Road outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He was riding with one hand on the handlebar and the other cradling a massive big rock. When somebody asked what was the reason for having the rock, he said: “Let one of dem driver splash me up and yuh goin see why I riding with this big rock.”
But there is one category of road user who sends my pressure high with rage. It’s those people who seem to go on the road not to drive their vehicles but to take them for a walk.
Those people, the worst being off-duty ZR and minibus drivers who, with nothing to do and nowhere to go, just drift along roads and highways like African snails, indifferent to other motorists who have things to do and places to go.
And it makes no sense blowing your horn because that only makes them “walk” their vehicles even slower. Then when the road opens up and you have enough room to pass, rather than allow you to do so they deliberately speed up to stop you from doing so.
• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm.

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