Tigers and Taxis


I had to go back to the airport today. For reasons that would make an interesting story where it not that my blood pressure would not survive the telling 😒.

Suffice to say, my little white car was to be swapped for another little white car. Well in the end, for a little bigger white car. Perhaps I should be more precise, and leave the ‘little’ out of the ‘little bigger’. I cannot reach across to adjust the left hand mirror of the new white car. Which I guess makes it a Much bigger white car since the previous ones were so little I could reach my hand out the left window almost without effort – though why I would want to is another question πŸ˜‚

But I digress.

I am reading an absolutely fascinating book, “Tiger”, about a particular tiger in the Primorye territory in far east of Russia – now that’s got you intrigued I bet πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. But there is more ; the book also looks at the relationship between prey and predator, through the millennia, and all the related theories and hypotheses.

I am sure you see why I have found it fascinatingπŸ˜‚. Concepts like the umwelt and umgebung are discussed; hunters and predators use these techniques without knowing they do so. They can move into the umwelt – the world of the other, filled with the perceptions it (the other ) alone knows.

Driving from Sea Point to Cape Town airport at 4pm was a mistake – more traffic than the Monash on a bad day but it did give me time to reflect on both tigers and taxis.

And the umwelt

All us drivers still in one piece on South African roads have acquired this skill.

How else can you explain that split second when you pull back because you ‘feel’ that taxi apparently contently cruising in the lane alongside you has decided to switch lanes. Because there is no slowing down, no head turning to look this way, no indicator- No Indication At All. But sure enough a millisecond after you feel it, it happens and you are kind of prepared and a collision is avoided.


That umwelt when

your skin feels trouble before your brain has time to register and the driver in front of you stops – just stops – to let someone out or in. And then after this event offers a casual wave out of their window in acknowledgment of your quick thinking 😟

The umwelt again;

When you, minding your own business wait patiently at the red robot (lights). Not a pedestrian in sight. The green light, first gear engaged and there it is : foot and breathe suddenly suspended by the umwelt, as a pedestrian from nowhere runs across the road against the red light in that strange double legged run facing you ( as though that offered some solid shield of protection?) and you continue to drive again with unblemished record πŸ˜ƒ

And imagine, prior to reading “Tiger” I, and now you, just thought we were good drivers – we had no idea it was actually about the umwelt 😜😜😳

Author: leepowrie

A 60+ about to enter the Brave New World of Blogging and inviting you to join me for the ride πŸ˜‚

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