February 12, 2012

On Traffic Jams and AA's

The pictures in the post are serene and not in accordance with the contents of this post. You might choose to look at the pictures only.

I went skiing yesterday. I got stuck in a traffic jam. A jam is opposed to a traffic flow: Traffic phenomena are complex and nonlinear, depending on the interactions of a large number of vehicles. Due to the individual reactions of human drivers, vehicles do not interact simply following the laws of mechanics, but rather show phenomena of cluster formation and shock wave propagation, both forward and backward, depending on vehicle density in a given area.(source)

Did you know that there’s a field of science that involves itself with traffic jams? The problem, according to this diagram, is saturation (of cars, that is). This saturation is caused by 3 reasons (as displayed in this diagram): 1) butterfly effect, 2) invisible waves, and 3) tragedy of commons.
I think we should add a fourth reason, one particular applicable to the Lebanese situation; it’s called the AA (that stands for Asshole Alert).

Lovely skiing! The slopes were positively empty. Hana did her first red run (proud mom)

And it goes like this.
You are on a two-way road. A narrow road, at that. At one point in time, your lane slows down due to the fact that the beginning of the line has reached its end-point at a village (let’s use Feraya, for example) where everyone wants to embark. This, of course, will cause the entire line to slow down. Logic has it that eventually this line will dissipate, as everyone will find a parking spot.

Now in comes the AA factor. These are people that can see no further than their nose is long (which according to this source means that they are ‘narrow-minded; and lack understanding and perception’.

And since they cannot see further than the end of their nose, they most defenitely cannot see further than the bend in the road, and since there seems to be no clear reason for the line the stop on this particular stretch of road, than there must be no reason at all for them to stop.
It is as if we are just standing there in a line, admiring the landscape.
All that it takes then, in their futile little brains, is to drive past this line, and voila, problem solved.

A and his sister. (Ever since he's been buying his own clothes, his style has significantly changed. I kind of like it, even though it's not really mystyle)

This is not the case however, as any sane thinking person can predict.
And so these AA's get out of the line, and proceed to drive past the line. Unfortunately, that lane is used by upcoming traffic. Oh surprise oh surprise, didn't see that one coming.

What happens, as a matter of fact, is that they block the way for upcoming traffic; people that are in fact emptying the village, which will allow our line to occupy the space of the departing cars. But since the departing cars can no longer depart, due to the actions of the AA, the line will subsequently not move anymore at all.  

They have Hollywood-like ambitions in this place

This, the AA’s, find very curious. Now why would there be upcoming traffic?
But no problem, they can just get back into their former line. Usually without any qualms, or so much as an ‘’excuse me”.

Now in Holland, we can be pretty narrow minded too, believe me. But what we would do, in a case like this, is to make that ‘former line’ absolutely inpenetratable for the offender, forcing him to have to drive backwards all the way to the very beginning of the line.

Empty slopes, sunny skies and crispy snow 

This would 1) greatly alleviate the stress is causes the people that actually do understand the reason for the traffic jam and display civilized behavior, and 2) it might help understand the AA that this particular behavior is non-social, and will not get him (or her), anywhere but to the end of the line (i.e. the beginning of the traffic jam.
I, in particular, can be a regular 'B' at that. I will not let anyone get back in front of me. I am willing to bend my fender for that (on my account, no problem) if I have to.

Alas, not in Lebanon. We’re too smooth, and let the asshole take our place. Now if it were only one AA, the line would eventually slowly budge, and you might reach your destination within humanly acceptable time. Unfortunately, the AA’s are abound! Especially fathers with children in their cars. Cars with legislative license plates. The mini-bus gypsy drivers.

At the end of the day, there was a boarders and skiers competition. Testosterone abound. It was fun to watch.

As a result, the AA’s are gratified in their actions, and are confirmed in their beliefs that we – the people in line – are just dumb suckers, and they are well above us. I have complained about this before; the majority of the Lebanese are meek like sheep. I don’t get this. An otherwise passionate people, can be so meek about getting pushed around be a couple of bozzos in SUV’s.

The lift from Cabane

The skiing was – by the way – fantastic. And when it gets to lining up in the ski lift, I just shove those AA’s aside with much verbal and physical ado. It embarrasses my son to no extent, one of the reasons why he is no longer skiing with me. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass. Because nobody shoves me around.


Anonymous said...

I sure don't miss the AAs. Everyone is so polite here and law abiding, it is amazing!

Fadi said...

My favorite (?) part is when an AA tries to get back in line in front of you and you block him telling him to drive back to where he came from, and he gets angry at you as if he's entitled to that spot in front of you, then goes about to honk, curse, and yell all sorts of animosities your way.

Sareen said...

THANK YOU! And personally, I don't give these AAs the right of way. I don't let them back into the line and ignore them completely by almost gluing myself to the car in front.

Anonymous said...

Truer words were never spoken! I can never understand why the Lebanese let these AAs get away with the most offensive behavior! No wonder they have no shame! Last week a car parked outside my building across the street from another parked car making it impossible to get through the street. Soon there were six cars backed up trying to pass (and of course another idiot wanting to go the wrong way down that same one way street). They all honked for about 20 minutes (yes, right outside my building) until the offending driver finally came back to move his car and NO ONE said anything! He didn't look embarrassed in the slightest. The Lebanese need to start calling these people out on their bad behavior. Us foreigners can't do it all.

Anonymous said...

what did H. say? "anger management issues"? Hahahahaha

Becky Gregory said...

I see you are learning the English alphabet from my sister, your colleague.

attack on Iran said...

You know what, we have plenty of these AAs in the States as well. Try driving in rush hour in suburban Virginia! In fact, its so bad here psychologists have announced a syndrome called "road rage".