It’s all over the news: Auckland is the best coastal city on the planet. Time to bring out the Ork-lund Drive to Survive Guide. A bible of sorts for tourists arriving to see what the city is made of. Warning: Ork-lunders have their own road rules. They make them up as they go.
• Ork-lunders reckon they are slick multi-taskers. The men can make a lychee martini, apply face-softening cream, study the futures market and talk on two or three cellphones. All at once, too. A typical bumper sticker on a go-get-‘em Ork-lund man’s car is: “It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.”
• Ork-lund women are also pretty clever. They can drive with lipstick, a latte, and cellphone in one hand – while using the other to rummage through a handbag for anti-ageing lotion. Nothing to it. They steer with their knees. A typical Ork-lund woman might change her bumper sticker to suit her moods. Some examples:
“Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?”
“My mother is a travel agent for guilt trips.”
“I’m trying to imagine you with a personality.”
“So you’re a feminist. Isn’t that cute?”
“Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose.”
• Ork-lund men and women are colour-blind. Red and green and amber/yellow mostly. Studies blame constant exposure to traffic lights. Doctors fear the worst: the day when people don’t/won’t/can’t recognise green, red and amber/yellow. The signs are there already. Beware the bumper sticker: “I used to be schizophrenic, but we’re okay now.”.
• Ork-lunders no longer rubberneck at the many roadworks – they know they will be there next year. And the year after. Ripping up roads is a way of life in Ork-lund. So is counting the traffic lights. This is easy – some are only metres apart.
• Lost your way? Do a U-turn. Ork-lunders do. Don’t bother to indicate either – that’s for sissies. Remember Ork-lund’s golden rule: turn signals give away your next move. There are bumper stickers for this: “I just want revenge. Is that so wrong?”
• Ork-lunders never take a green light at face value. So count to five first. It fits with another rule: the faster you drive through a red light, the less chance you have of getting hit by a car going on a green light. Simple, isn’t it?
• Never stop at an amber light – you will be rear-ended and/or abused. If this happens, hope for the bumper sticker “Keep on working, all those on social welfare depend on you”. It might help diffuse things. Call a cop if the car that rear-ended you has the sticker: “Every time you open your mouth, some idiot starts talking.” There is an ugly rumour about four out of five cars on Ork-lund’s roads being uninsured. Seek advice.
• High-speed tailgating on the Ork-lund motorway network reduces petrol consumption. Something to do with being sucked along in the slipstream of the car in front. Typical sticker? “I drive far too fast to worry about cholesterol.” Warning: back off from any vehicle with the sticker: “The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.”
• The old maths poser that three into two won’t go? It does in Ork-lund. Lane markings are there only to indicate you are driving on a mapped road. Crossing two or three lanes in a single lane-change is considered “going with the flow.” If you are in the left lane and doing only 100km/h in a 100km/h zone, people are not waving when they go by. Neither are those who pass you on the inside of an inside lane.
• Never leave a safe distance between you and the car in front – someone else will fill in that space. Braking comes in here, too. It must be done as hard and as late as possible to ensure that your ABS anti-lock system kicks in. For those of you in an old car without ABS, it’s a chance to stretch your legs. This also helps to avoid deep vein thrombosis at traffic lights. Don’t get too close to the sticker: “Watch out for the idiot behind me.” Back off even further from the sticker: “Jesus loves you. But I’m his favourite.”
• Speed limits are arbitrary figures, given only as suggestions and are not enforceable during rush hour. Rush hour in Ork-lund goes on for 24 hours. Remember, too, that there is no such thing as a shortcut during rush-hour. Be cool. Keep this sticker in mind: “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once.”
• Learn to swerve abruptly. Ork-lund is the home of high-speed slalom driving, thanks to city councils who put potholes in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes. There is some opposition to the suggestion that city council vehicles should forever display the sticker: “Chaos, panic, and disorder – our work here is done.”
• Give way rules are like speed limits – suggestions only. If you are turning left and the vehicle coming towards you is turning right … who cares? Ork-lunders like “Who dares wins” best. Be careful around the sticker: “I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure.”
• Heavy rain is no reason to change any of the above rules. Such rain is Ork-lund’s – and God’s – way of ensuring a natural selection process for panelbeaters, scrapyards, and new-car sales. You might see the sticker: “If there is no God, who always pops up that next Kleenex?”