It’s something we’ve all seen before. Some of us have clearly not seen enough of it. It’s something we all hate for the inconvenience it causes. Like a visit to the dentist. We understands why it happens, we understand the need for it, we deal with it, but we certainly do not like it.
It’s all about road maintenance and the subsequent traffic congestion.
Being stuck in traffic in Oman is exactly the same as being stuck in traffic anywhere else in the world. It sucks and it causes the same reaction from different types of people. Some seem to except their predicament and are happily tapping to whatever song is playing on the radio. Others seem slightly more anxious, annoyed and frustrated with the situation and might suck through a cigarette a little faster. Then there are those who just lose their shit completely. Highly irate drivers who scream and hoot and abuse their right of the middle finger. Then they attempt to accelerate their progress by cutting off, pushing and shoving other vehicles. Ironically, these actions causes more and more carefree tapping drivers to become irate, finger-flashing ones.
Now you have a cluster of irate drivers trying their best to out-manoeuvre one another, effectively turning cars into death machines, especially if you consider how they are rushing past the workers who are only trying to repair the pothole we complain about every day. Needless to say, there is a degree of danger involved in their work, with all these imbecils passing them in close proximity. In order to avoid death, they opt for a dozen signs, hundreds of flashing red lights and enough chevron tape to measure the equator. These things are required as most of us know that a human don’t stand a chance against a speeding truck when playing involuntary chicken. Unless off course that human is Chuck Norris.
As an additional safety measure some teams would place a person with a red flag a few metres before the actual pothole repair, further encouraging drivers to slow down. I’m not sure why, but here in South Africa this person is normally a female. Their fathers must be so proud, having their daughters standing on the side of the road, flagging down drivers…
I wonder what selection criteria is required to be appointed in this position? Standing around, looking pretty, doing nothing? Career prospects are also limited because if you’re really lucky you might end up waving a checkered one. And that’s about it.
In Muscat I saw the same thing, well, sort of. They had the red flag but…
The people of Oman are either highly intelligent or extremely lazy. These guys don’t have an actual person waving the red flag, there they use a…wait for it… *insert drum-roll (ta-da-dhoosh)*… a mannequin.
And not just a mannequin. These fake workers are fully dressed like the rest of the team. Overall, hard-hat, reflective jackets, safety shoes, the works. The flag is tied to the arm, posed in a flag-waving position. I assume one of the workers has window dressing experience, for as I was passing the mannequin, I noticed that the wig didn’t have a hair out of place.
So I assume it was a wig. On a mannequin. Wait, did that thing just wink at me?