The design for the zebra surprised us somewhat. DO NOT HATE ME, in big letters on the street. Now we are slowly understanding it better. Every time you cross the street it is a battle. Car drivers gesture out of the way as is their cars
don't have any breaks. Almost being killed is the standard. We now do the funny walk, an ostrich like stride while looking panicky from left to right, that we laughed about when we first saw it. It is right out war and the cars are winning.
is it normal to threaten people that way. Most drivers are pedestrians on a daily basis. You would expect empathy. You now what it is like, getting out of the way just in time of an approaching car. You feel fear, impotence, aggression. You would say that
that is enough to make you use the brakes next time. But it isn't. So there must be something more important than mutual respect and the general sense of wellbeing.
What are the options?
Most heard excuse: I would want
to stop but I can't. Other drivers won't let me. There is some truth in that. Everybody drives here to obtain their own best trajectory. Je can cut, wriggle, push, block, turn around, honk and shout. When somebody is in your ideal line you hit the horn hard.
The consequence of all this selfishness is constant stress and near accidents. Plus traffic jams and blocked streets. Giving right of way is abnormal here. When you follow the mores of egotism ultimately even unpredictable and irresponsible behavior. We have
seen ambulances with sirens working hopelessly stuck in traffic. Letting a pedestrian cross take away precious time of other fellow drivers and is rated as something you should probably be doing at home.
Another explanation is more gloomy.
Because of the colonial past of Peru is the master-servant relation the only one that is considered real. Everyone everywhere is someone's master of servant. In the house the man is master, the woman servant, the parents master, the child servant. At work
the manager is the master, his co-workers servants, female co-workers more so than male. Everyone knows exactly where they are on the black to white race scale. Everything is power or powerlessness. And these relations are fixed. The same politicians have
been in the news for decades. Even when they are in jail for abuse of power and murder their master status goes unchanged. Corruption is everywhere. Nobody really believes in change. They complain and sigh. But that you use your power is considered normal.
Nobody expects you to give up personal privileges for something abstract like the greater good. Because there is no greater good in a master servant relation. The difference in power and its consequences are key in the concept. Buying votes with presents works
because it reconfirms it.
Killing pedestrians is the privilege of the mighty driver. Poor pedestrian out of the way. For many people it is probably a welcome release as well for all the humiliation they experience day in and day out.
A third possibility occurred to me yesterday. It has something to do with the connection with the earth that used to be normal here. Since the arrival of the Spaniards slowly but surely every element of this relation with the environment has
been ousted. It is not longer human being is the earth, but human beings on the earth. The ones that walk in the street are in contact with the ground, with the elements. From the car the pedestrian is the farmer from earlier times that needs to be chased
away. Because the longing for pacha mama, mother earth, is still there. The pain will only go away if everyone moves faster and faster, safely isolated with glass and steel and rubber.