Claude thought anarchy sounded great. Do what thou wilt! LIve and let live! Claude imagined himself strutting through the Wild West, swigging from a bottle of beer and adjusting himself whenever he felt like it.
But, the fact is, it is sometimes difficult to live in a country where traffic lights are merely suggestions, where a red light means nothing more than, “If you have extra time, you might consider slowing down now.”
Anarchy is hard on pedestrians. If everyone is going to do exactly what they want, exactly when they want to do it, then -- it is best to be inside a large truck.
Claude had a marked tendency toward indecision, which had often been a source of weakness and embarrassment to him. Now, however, since he couldn’t make up his mind about whether or not to kill himself, it appeared that indecisiveness was actually preserving his life.
Sometimes Claude wanted to die, sometimes not, but absolutely one hundred percent of the time Claude possessed total crystalline clarity in regard to the fact that he did not wish to be crushed flat by a bus.
Waiting on the curb, Claude wished that, before running away to a distant land, he had thought about whether or not he would be able to cross the street. Buses and trucks roared past, cars swerved, bikes zipped on both edges of the road in the opposite direction of traffic. “Look both ways” doesn’t work when there are drastically more directions than “both”.
The situation was made acutely worse by the fact that, every time Claude came to an intersection and paused to consider how he might survive traversing it, men immediately began shouting to him from all four corners “Tuk tuk! Moto-bike! Hello!” Thus it was impossible for Claude to do what he needed to do in order to survive, namely pay attention to what was directly in front of him.
This was low season and the taxi-men were quite literally hungry, which is not to suggest that these gentlemen were not also motivated by genuine concern because it was very evident that Claude was out of his element and it was obvious, even to those zooming past at high speeds, that Claude would have been better off in a very small village, a century before the invention of the automobile.