From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

DWF (Driving While Female), Backseat Violations. Or: If You Can’t Blame the Jews, Blame the Women. I am not making the following up, nor is it from The Onion. Seriously.

It is of course true that women do not drive in the Kingdom but the great majority of drivers here take their orders from women. And it is also true that once a woman is seated in her car, she begins issuing contradictory orders which she demands the driver carry out. Just think of the sheer number of foreign drivers in the streets of Riyadh — no exact numbers are available — from early morning until late at night and you can begin to see the magnitude of the problem.
It is a drama in which women play the leading role. It starts each morning with fleets of chauffeur-driver cars clogging the streets, blocking the way in front of schools, offices, hospitals and other public places. It all depends on the woman’s general mood and it is how she behaves once she is in the car that determines whether things will be all right that day or whether all will end in disaster.

If the driver finds that the woman in the back seat is in a bad mood, he braces himself for trouble. Such behavior definitely impacts upon the poor man who, knowing he cannot answer back, usually resorts to the only thing he can do — stepping hard on the accelerator. In some cases, a driver may express his anger in words, threatening to quit if the humiliation continues. The result in both cases is, if not catastrophic, often unfortunate.

Our streets swarm with drivers, both wise and ignorant of basic safety rules. Many of these are controlled and directed by women. The people responsible for traffic awareness campaigns should turn their attention to this matter. They should move to educate women on how to drive safely while in the back seat.

Nor am I making this up:

WAJH, 10 May 2004 — A judge in Al-Wajh in the north of the Kingdom has sentenced two young Saudis to jail and lashes. The young men had misused a cell phone camera, Al-Madinah reported.

The judge sentenced one young man to 30 lashes for photographing a girl on the street. Another young man was sentenced to 40 lashes for inciting the first one to take the picture. The judge said this would be a lesson to those who are guilty of unacceptable behavior.

The lashings will, of course, be carried out in public. Get yer popcorn here!

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