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Salute to Gautengers

22 February 2013, 20:25

I really have to hand it to Gautengers, you are surely a hardy lot and make no mistake about it.

You may well earn more than anybody else, anywhere in the country, but you deserve every cent as far as I can tell. What you do to earn your daily bread goes way beyond the call of duty.

You’ll spend an hour in traffic in the morning, getting to work, and then another hour doing the same to get home and I’ve yet to see anybody alight from their vehicle and start shooting.

Haven’t noticed anybody having a heart attack or nervous breakdown either, come to think of it, but perhaps those misadventures only happen either at work or when you’re at home with your feet up.

I don’t know as I’m no expert but I’ve wondered these past 3 weeks if that ever happens. Can you imagine the traffic backup? I don’t even want to think about it.

I’ve been doing the daily hell run on the N1 and N3 from near Pretoria to Alberton for 3 weeks now and I honestly don’t know how you folks handle it. I would go stark staring mad, off my rocker, crazy!

I last travelled these highways and byways way back in 1996 before getting out of what I then considered was a rat race but what you’re contending with today is a nightmare.

I leave my peaceful little cottage, surrounded by silence except for the birds a-twittering, at 6am and if there are no major hiccups I make it to work about 6:45, just in time for coffee – the strong stuff to get my nerves under control – before attending to the normal chaos that my job entails at the moment.

At 5pm I steel myself, climb back into my vehicle, and make the tortuous drive back home, usually without any incident barring the taxis cutting me off, the odd crazy who uses all available lanes in an effort to beat the odds and the clueless ones - usually in big, powerful Mercs or SUV’s - who one can see have no idea what they’re doing and obviously work for government.

Nothing drastic or heart-stopping but it does take me an hour before I can settle down with that first ice cold beer – again just to settle the nerves you understand.

In fact today was the first time I’ve hooted in anger and that was just at a taxi who decided to change into my lane whilst I was still alongside him. Good naturedly he hooted back, we exchanged some pleasantries, and continued on our way. Yes, you’re a patient lot as well.

Like I say, you people are surely the bravest of the brave or else completely out of your minds with the ultimate death wish. You could not pay me enough to do this on a daily basis – not all the tea in China, nor all the cows at Nkandla would be enough. It’s really a horrible way to live.

I’ve got at the most another 3 weeks of this before my project starts and thereafter I’ll be living, and working, close to a beach on the tropical east coast of Africa where the worst that can happen to me is that I’ll have flashbacks of driving on the Gauteng freeways in peak hour traffic.

To all of you Gautengers I can only say – you are amazing people. Not sane of course, but amazing.

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