President for a Day


If you’re ever hanging around with your friends and you want to play a fun mental game, you can try the President for a Day game.

Essentially imagine if you were given (unobstructed) political power to make some kind of changes, even if it were in effect for only 24 hours. What would you do that might inspire a genuine improvement in society, a really good idea that if you could just cut through the “red tape” bureaucratic political BS that goes on non-stop and just be a kind of temporary “benevolent dictator”, what would you do?

Today I rode in a taxi and I instantly recalled all of the many journeys I have taken in an automobile here in Romania. Since I don’t own a car, this always means I’m riding with someone else.

Of course about 90% of those “someone else’s” are taxi drivers, who are disproportionately male. There are a few female taxi drivers and I’ve met them and ridden with them, but it’s not that many.

Partly because somehow people mistake me as a “friendly person” and partly because I’m not always nimble enough in the Romanian language to interject when a guy driving me around, carrying my irreplaceable meat and bone vehicle of my existence, is going off on a rant, a bitch session.

If I am riding solo, I always ride up front. I hate feeling like the Duke of Monmouth which is what happens when I’m in the back of a vehicle and I’m telling someone what to do.

Whew these guys like to get up on a rant. And really all you need to do is mumble a “da” or a “asta-i” once in a while and they’ll really get a load off. Sometimes I consider myself a mobile psychologist, just doing this city’s mental health a favor by letting these guys blow off steam. Except of course for the fact that I’m paying them :P

But the “layer within a layer” aspect here is that taxi drivers are clearly a major political force. They spend vast amounts of time in their cars and all have radios where they can jabber with their fellow taxi people as much as they want to for free.

Then when a passenger gets in their car, they can turn around and start broadcasting these ideas right at you and essentially you’re a “captive” audience. What are you going to do?

Of course you can always say “shut the f–k up and drive, boy!” but that’s a fairly hostile thing to do and then you’re sitting right next to him. Furthermore, he’ll likely decide the only way to drown out the awkwardness is by blasting manele music, so that’s probably not a wise choice.

A far better choice is to just do what I do and that’s stop translating what they say. Hehehe! Works great.

In all seriousness, if I were “President for a Day”, I’d make it illegal for a man to operate a motor vehicle. I walk all over this city right next to busy roads filled with traffic and I’ve seen everything from car crashes to yelling to swerving and poor driving, etc, etc.

It’d be statistically impossible to say 100% of the angry, violent, confrontational driving in this city is done by males but I bet it’s pretty damn close. Something about driving around all day gets them really riled up and angry. Then they compensate by blasting music (deafening their sense of hearing) and/or swerving or driving aggressively and often at recklessly high speeds.

I’ve never seen women drive like this. And I know several women who are friends of mine and drive all the time and they never drive like that. Heck, I myself got into a freaking rumble at the gara with some taxi drivers earlier this year.

If taxi drivers had a measurable physical illness like say a particular strain of the flu, it would be obvious that they would pose a major threat to public health as they would pass on the illness via all their passengers.

So why is this angry, bitter, sometimes violent attitude allowed to spread unchecked with almost no awareness of the situation? And why do so many men in this country drive so recklessly? I don’t have an insurance table in front of me but I’d wager the vast majority of high speed collisions are caused by male drivers.

So there you go, that’s what I’d do if I were President for a Day – I’d ban all men from driving. Sort of a “Reverse Saudi Arabia” if you will :P

Hmm…. what would you do?

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