I am a 26-year-old health professional in Guyana, a university graduate. In primary school, I topped my school and region in the then Secondary School Entrance Examination. In Secondary School, it was the same at the Caribbean Examination Council’s CSEC and CAPE. I am not stating these achievements to boast; I am stating them so that readers know I am of high intelligence with sound reasoning skills and mental faculties.
I have an 8-year-old daughter, who attends Success Elementary Primary School. When she started there, we lived some 12 minutes away from the school. As a result of unforeseen circumstances, we were forced to relocate.
I work on the East Coast of Demerara, so in September when I realised it would be impossible to drive to Eccles and then come back to the East Coast for work at 8am, I hired a taxi to take her to school and bring her back home. After two weeks of the traffic experience, the taxi driver came and said, he can’t take her anymore. I tried another driver, this time sending her a bit earlier, in an effort to “beat” the traffic. After about a month that driver said, it is too frustrating, he cannot take her anymore.
I was faced with no other option but to take her myself, I did this for the remainder of the first school term. We have to leave home very early, so that means we must wake up extremely early. Some might question what is wrong with that, but please take into consideration the earlier I drop her off, the more “idle” time she has before school actually starts at 8:30am.
I would constantly tell people, if I leave home 5 minutes late, I get to work 30 mins late. This traffic situation is taking a mental toll on me, as my daughter and I prepare in the morning we are constantly giving each other time checks, “okay, hurry, 10 minutes and we must be out the door…okay, we’ll fix that in the car, we have to go” that in itself is mentally fatiguing. Please accept my honesty as I proceed to the following paragraph.
When I get to the area where the traffic leaving Georgetown converges into one lane, as I sit in my car boxed in, I think about if this were America and gun laws were liberal, if I would lose it one day and come out of my car and start a shooting rampage, I think about if a cutlass would suffice.
When I finally get to work, I am already tired, I’m already mentally unhinged. I see a patient coming in my direction and I think “Oh God, I just came, can I get two seconds to settle” and if per chance I am late and I see my supervisor coming, I start rattling off silent profanities.
If my office phone rings, I sigh or I ask God to have mercy before I answer.
Sometimes I try to calm myself on the drive back from the East Bank by putting on my music loudly and skipping to Future’s Mask Off record to try and get rid of some of the anger with its thuggish lyrics or to drown out my own violent thoughts. Some days it works and some days it does not. I think this may be considered the beginning phases of some kind of mental illness. The traffic is making me mentally ill!
I was having a conversation with a colleague who starts his journey from Grove on the East Bank to Georgetown and he has to drop his children off before he gets to work for 8:30am. He actually has the benefit of having 3 lanes of traffic in his direction and I asked, “How was this morning, were you early?” His response was, “you know, I’m starting to believe that getting anywhere in the morning early is unrealistic; it’s a myth”.
Editor, I can’t be the only person feeling this way, something needs to be done and it needs to be done soon! And finally, can someone, anyone, please say where motorcyclists are supposed to ride. Is it on the side of the road? Is it in the middle? These guys are just riding anywhere; sometimes they flank your vehicle, one on the right and one on the left, forcing you to drive in a straitjacket. This is all just too much.
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