Body in Motion

Annual Leave
August 27, 2009, 11:19 pm
Filed under: roads

In this corner of the world, about a month of annual leave seems to be the norm. I just got back from mine to discover that apparently humans aren’t the only ones who need to take a rest to keep up their job function.

I recently discovered that the breathalyzers the police department uses in their Friday and Saturday night checkpoints have gone for recalibration – more or less all at the same time and for not less than a month.

For those of you familiar with the traffic patterns in Lilongwe, the Saturday morning cars in the ditches or run up on the middle of round-abouts aren’t surprising, they blend with the mid-morning sun, awaiting their now-babalas owners to retrieve what is left for the salvage yard.

Rumor has it that when the breathalyzers were donated by some unsuspecting donors, Members of Parliament removed them from the streets, finding the issue a bit too close to home – but this is mostly heresy. Mostly.

Now we are used to the post-last-call texts that go out, leading friends away from the checkpoints lurking in the dark.

Which brings me to my question: If life with breathalyzers in Lilongwe involved more than the occasional weekend bang-up, what will happen while the breathalyzers are on leave? Will their be a larger roadside rubble pile to start the weekend off right? Or were the checkpoint warning networks so effective that not much will change?

All I can say is that the last checkpoint I went through caught a nice snapshot of my sober friends pulled over for a minor traffic infringement by some very not-sober cops. Breathalyzer, anyone?

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