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    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Monday, July 12, 2004  
    Coming home from the pub last night, I caught a service from Dora to Jounieh at about midnight.
    The driver, who I presumed to be in his late twenties, was typical of a type of plebe common in his profession – someone so wild and uncouth that everything he said came out as a sort of shouted garbled bark.
    I was going to suggest to him that he A R T I C U L A T E but it soon transpired that his diction was the least of my problems.
    He was speeding (the speedometer wasn’t working so I can't report it to the Guinness Book of Records people) and shortly before the Zouk tunnel, we came across a stopped car.
    He slammed on the brakes, they locked (the road was wet – possibly with diesel oil) so we fishtailed freely – managing to avert that car but to end up blocking the path of oncoming cars as we came to a rest sideways (he'd managed to finally stop the car by employing the gears), the road was busy but those cars swerved away from us.
    We were spared by the grace of God and the fact that this was obviously a good driver (bad enough to get us in this situation but good enough to get us out of it).
    So, what does Einstein do?
    He SPEEDS away as if nothing had happened!
    Clear of one accident, we were almost involved in another one when we swerved in front of a jeep - "why don’t you just ride on my back!" he screamed out to the jeep driver.
    All the while he was telling me "God saved us!"!
    I told him that God had saved us and that God saves but that we had to help him out a bit and this was not the way of doing it.
    "Haven't you learnt anything from this?"
    He agreed that I was right but insisted that this is the first time it had ever happened to him.
    We hurtled into Jounieh and stopped at a petrol station - the front-end of the car was fuming and it took at least five buckets of water to pacify the radiator (I think it was actually broken though - possibly when we'd snicked a car in the accident - as the water went straight out).
    We sputtered out of the petrol station, the car wouldn’t start, he tried to hotwire it in a flash of sparks (further fuelling my suspicions that it was stolen although there was a key in the ignition he'd tried to use without any result and he'd told me that he bought it two days ago) but it still wouldn’t go.
    Whereby he declared "they ripped me off!"
    I got out of the car, paid him (who really got ripped off?) and walked the rest of the way to the Jounieh square where I caught the slow taxi home - Miled, the slowest gun alive (he says he's being careful but his colleagues say he's stingy and is trying to minimize fuel comsumption) was on duty and Id never been happier to see him.
    I'd memorized Einsteins's number when I'd first got in and am going to get it checked out and get him cautioned
    I escaped with my life but maybe somebody else won't, unless people like you and me do our civic duty and keep this type of person in check.
    I don’t care how good a driver you are – there are always so many random variables beyond your control that could undo you and there's always somebody like me who will dob you in! (For all our sakes).

    9:59 am

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