7 ways to handle Cairo traffic without losing your cool

Picture this: you’re in a traffic jam that just refuses to let up. Cars around you are honking like there’s no tomorrow and -if you’re a girl- random men have been making googly-eyes at you for the past hour.

The next logical step would be for you to get out of your car, open the trunk, grab the closest metallic object and start smashing your car and all the others surrounding it with said metallic object.

Don’t. You may (or may not) go to jail, and I don’t think Egyptian jails are as fancy as American jails.

As a person who was born and raised in this country, I can tell you how to handle such traffic jams in ways that will make time pass by a little faster. I’ve been proudly dealing with my own traffic jams since 1992.

1. Make your car comfortable:

It doesn’t have to be a fancy car. In fact, I recommend buying a cheap car you have no emotional attachment to -but more on that in another post. Make the car’s interior comfortable and cosy; consider it your second home, if you will.

Get some books/comics and store them somewhere in the car; they’ll come in handy. Put all the convenient items you’ll know you will need in the car; a car phone charger, an auxiliary cable and snacks that won’t expire quickly. Now you’re prepared to handle boredom and hunger during traffic jams. Go, you!

And since the country is in a state of curfew and you’re bound to get stuck somewhere during the dead hours of the night least once, it wouldn’t hurt to keep a few pillows and a blanket there, either.

2. Grow your music library

Gather all the music you can find. You don’t even have to like it, you’ll be thankful when push comes to shove. Horrific traffic jams make you feel like the world is coming to an end, so you’ll find yourself more open to trying new things and listening to new music.

This could be your opportunity to finally understand country music or death metal. Even Miley Cyrus can come in handy on The 6th of October bridge.

3. Purchase some audio books or audio tutorials

There’s lots of new audio shit going around these days like audio books and audio language lessons. Use the time spent stuck in your car doing something productive. Wanna learn French but claim not to have the time? Non, non monsieur! You have the time. That lorry will not move from the middle of the ring road for at least another hour. Learn how to count from one to ten or something.

4. Let your phone rescue you

This is my personal favorite. It’s never okay to use your phone while driving, but while you’re basically stuck in a giant parking lot, this is the perfect time for you to answer emails, check twitter, contact an old friend or play a game. In my humble opinion, phone companies need to use traffic as a marketing strategy in countries like Egypt; there are bucket-loads of money involved here. There’s a reason why I reached level 147 in Candy Crush.

5. Write and/or doodle

Keep a notepad in your car for those moments you’re so frustrated you just need to get your thoughts out. You can either write, doodle or even rip out the pages and shred them into pieces if that’ll make you feel better.

Hey, if you’re lucky, that traffic jam will go on for so long that you’ll have written an entire book by the time the cars start to move. You can be the next Stephen King.

6. Create your own hypothetical scenarios

After being stuck for half an hour in the same place, you’ll find your eyes wandering and staring at the people in the cars around you. A fighting couple, an angry man in a suit or a girl with her phone stuck in her headscarf.

What I like to do is create random scenarios and conversations in my head, guessing what these people are like or what they’re saying. Some of the things I come up with can include:

a. The couple are fighting because another girl posted on the guy’s facebook wall that she missed him and he *gasp!* replied that he missed her too.

b. The angry man in the suit is actually a successful business man late for picking up his new custom-made Rolex. Mo money, mo problems, dude.

c. Girl with phone stuck in her headscarf got veiled for the sole purpose of putting her phone in her headscarf and give us all a reason to encourage suicide.

Making up scenarios will enhance your creative skills, make time pass faster and make you feel like a deranged stalker. You should include it in your resume and watch employers beg.

7. Appreciate the little things

Last time I got stuck in a traffic jam I got so hungry I started to contemplate asking the drivers next to me for food. Traffic takes away so many privileges from you, so it’s a good time to start appreciating those little things you take for granted, like food, your bed..or the luxury of peeing.

Bottom line:

Don’t let traffic drive you insane! Cairo traffic will never change (I am a fine example of optimism), so the only thing you can do is make the most of it. Well, it’s not the only thing..you can always resort to the car-smashing solution, but that might get messy.

Hey, it’s your choice. I don’t judge.

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