One constant throughout the course of time is that mankind has always known its enemy. Fire is mans oldest foe, and has been the weapon of choice of Mother Nature for quite some time. She doesn’t always play nice and can seldom be tamed. When she wants to destroy you, she can. Whether it is with an earthquake, a super volcano, a hurricane or a plague of Kardashians, man will never triumph over her. I mean, he can barely conquer himself without getting into a tizzy.
Generally it takes at least 2 entities to have a war, whether it’s the Americans versus the Russians, Britain versus France, Iran versus more or less everyone else or McDonalds versus Burger King. But with Mother Nature the rules are different. Can she be described as an entity? She can’t be seen, or even depicted, how can she be beaten?
To have an invisible enemy is a nuisance. We’ve all seen Star Trek, when the Klingons engage their cloaking device it causes Captain Kirk no end of grief. He ends up just firing into random space with his fingers crossed. It is very difficult to beat an invisible enemy.
This somehow brings me onto the subject of the road humps in the UAE. Or speed bumps, or ramps, or sleeping policemen, whatever you want to call them. I like to call them “F@#&ers”. They are, through all intents and purposes, the enemy. It is an invisible enemy that springs out of nowhere and disengages its cloaking device at the last possible second. The result? Smashed suspension, broken anti-roll bar bushes, cocked steering arms, shattered teeth and a powdered spine. They really are the most evil creation the world has ever seen.
This is the part where the good-willed and the pious will tell me to “slow down to the speed limit you ruffian and then you will see them”. If you are planning on saying this to me then I implore you to go and put your head in the microwave post haste. You see, I have crawled along roads at 10kph – when the limit is 60kph – and still hit the humps and have still needed to spend the week in intensive care. They just appear from nowhere and in some cases are akin to crashing into a wall.
They are painted white and yellow, and in some cases a fine glass powder is mixed in with the paint. This is supposed to give the paint – and subsequently the hump – a healthy, reflective glow. Of course, lacing the streets are sodium street lamps, or in other cases, no street lamps at all. Sodium street lamps are the ones that give the orange glow and are supposed to create less light pollution. This is preposterous. The only people affected by light pollution are the 3-4 chaps on the International Space Station. There are billions of us down here, we need more. The lamps mask the humps and don’t allow for the glass fragments to reflect anything. So you end up having to take your car to the garage to be exorcised.
The colour issue is also not helped by the fact that the humps are covered in the tyre marks of a million other road users. So they are black, the same as the road. This makes them as invisible, and as costly, as ever.
Then we have the location of the road humps. They can be found everywhere. They are in small residential complexes, usually in the wrong place. They can also be found in the middle of main roads that have 100kph speed limits. Have any of you driven over the one outside the Danat Hotel in Al Ain? It’s on the corner on the approach to the entrance and has a similar incline as Mont Blanc. You can’t drive over it straight so all 4 wheels traverse independently! No matter how slowly you drive, it hurts. My favourite ones are the ones that only cover the width of the road, so you just drive onto the dirt on one side and drive around it instead. Honestly, this situation needs urgent review.
The most wearisome part of the entire episode is the consistency of them. The Al Ain-Dubai road is a good example. When you are coming into Al Ain, you’re driving along the motorway at 120kph; you see the sign that says “HUMPS AHEAD” and you start to slow as it, unusually, comes into view. You don’t feel it; it was more or less the same as running over a catseye or a piece of paper. So you think that you were played for a fool. Then instantly after the fake hump is another one, you hit that aaannd… the next thing you know you are waking up in the back of ambulance and your car is stuck in a tree.
Is there a solution for these invisible and lethal weapons of mass destruction? Is it all part of an elaborate ruse by the motoring industry to cause damage to our cars so we have to spend more money on repairs to help them out of recession? Is it an Illuminati effort to curb population growth by trying to kill us off? Or is it just plain incompetence? I suspect that mans’ oldest enemy is up to her old tricks…
The only rational theory that I can muster is that Mother Nature no longer wants to play with fire now she’s got the hump…