Every now and then, as I go about daily life, I’m reminded anew that I don’t live in the US anymore. That happened this morning while I was driving home from my Pilates class, and got caught in traffic behind two horses.
I love that horses are still traffic here. Sometimes it’s a horse-drawn cart. Sometimes it’s a pair of friends riding their horses down the street. Sometimes it’s a mounted GNR (police) clopping straight down the traffic lane. All of them are considered normal traffic and need not get out of the way of the bigger, faster cars (which is wonderfully civilized to my mind). In fact, whenever this happens I tend to see drivers behaving very considerately, driving slowly behind the horses and giving a great deal of comfort space when they pass.
Not too long ago, I was caught behind three people riding their horses down the main avenue of the city. It’s a boulevard, with one traffic lane in each direction separated by a tree-lined pedestrian walkway in the center, and neither lane has much driving room due to the (always jammed) parking spaces on either side. So when you add three horses to the lane, it doesn’t matter if they’re riding off to the side. It’s still impossible to pass. Cars stacked up behind me as far as I could see, but there wasn’t a single horn to be heard. Nobody complained. Everyone just waited until the horses finally arrived at a roundabout, at which point there was room for the cars to get by. And when all of those pent-up drivers were able to pass, they didn’t honk or rev their engines, or even send visual one-fingered messages out the window. They just passed quietly and went on their way.
That kind of thing never fails to make my day.
This evening, while running an errand out of town, I drove down a narrow street in our neighborhood and saw a horse tied up to a lamppost outside a café. All the way out of town, I was smiling.