The Ten O’Clock Highway

I live a retired life, which means I push my nose into all sorts of places. This is fun if you time it right – and the chief requirement there is to coordinate your movements with the road traffic.

Or, to put it more accurately, without. You choose to venture when others do not – you go places they are not. The shining goal os a day is an unobstructed road ahead and no arrogant BMW driver or tradie in a tray-top pushing up behind you. In some cases it is worth seeking out a road that doesn’t even go where you want to go to so that you can enjoy the peace.

It gets harder, as our metropolitan area expands and the suburbs in-fill themselves with multiple dwellings on older blocks. Just more people on the roads. I try to use the bus and train system when I can – the attraction being free travel in air conditioning with time to rest rather than drive. However, there are places poorly-served by public transport so the car has to be wheeled out.

I’ve learned to only venture after 10:00 AM and to bring myself back home before 4:00 PM.  If the route is planned well you can get through the flak defences, accomplish your mission, and be back before they can catch you. Of course there are always road crews out playing Tetris with the traffic barriers as they lean on their shovels and you do well to learn about them from other road users on the net the night before. They really do affect where you travel for shopping – they steered me away from a certain sale at a shop last Saturday by the simple expedient of blocking the shop’s street from both ends. I hope the shopkeeper and his assistants do not stave and die behind the counter while the paviours play – it would make the shop premises stink awfully…

Shall I resort to the net and on-line shopping more? I hope not – I like the establishment of physical shops in our city as a way of giving employment and providing convenience for me  – after I have run the gauntlet of the roads. On-line doesn’t benefit our state or nation in the end.

 

 

 

Random Acts Of Mindless

Wa are often besieged by people who would have us be kind to everyone. They smile and simper and pretend that saintly behaviour will be rewarded with universal happiness.

Bosh.

Saints have never been happy and their acolytes were no better off. Martyrdom was the best that any of them could hope for and in a lot of cases they had to work pretty hard to achieve it. Missionaries and prophets and reformers generally had to spend a lot of time making nuisances of themselves before they could compel the authorities to burn or expel them. They were unpleasant people who decided to spread it about.

How much better, instead of spreading kindness, to lash about with mindless acts. Folly and questionable behaviour spread thinly. The theatre of random occurrence. Do things then run away.

To this end I have gone to Bunnings and purchased three cans of clear acrylic spray in a matte finish and a large screwdriver. I’m going to the place out in the industrial area where they stack the wrecked cars.

The screwdriver is so I can scratch the paint and the cans are so that I can paint stealth graffiti. I’ll show ’em…

The Care And Feeding Of Road Rage

People have told me that there is no need to feed road rage – it has its own sources of nourishment. I am astounded by this – when I take my Toyota Crown 2000 along the Old Coast Road at Easter time towing the Blockmore caravan at 35 Km per hour I never see any rage. I’ve taken off the towing mirrors and I never look back.

Recently a person who was a great deal more Asian than I am was behind my little green Suzuki in a grey Subaru – a big one. I suspect I was not going fast enough to satisfy him – though it would have satisfied a magistrate, as it was the legal limit. In the brief glances I took into the rear-view mirror I could see lights flashing and violent gesticulations on his part. This may have been a folk dance, but if it was, the folk were unhappy.

I made sure I kept strictly to the road speed limits and drove safely – using my turn indicators  at the proper distance as required in the Act. My stern companion may not have read the Act, nor approved of it, as he kept repeating his light show. Perhaps there are different rules in the Dutch East Indies or French Indo-China regarding road use, and he has not had time to learn ours. In any case, when he peeled off to do important things elsewhere and I continued on to do trivial things in my part of the world, I reflected upon the lessons:

  1. Road rage sits beneath the surface of many psyches wearing many suits of clothing. You cannot assign it to any one group.
  2. It manifests itself when the practitioner is under stress – they are late – they have had a bad day at work – they are under financial pressure. Stress = rage potential.
  3. The trigger for the rage can be anything that frustrates them. If you drive at the legal speed in a lane within which they wish to break the law, you are target for that rage. They want to gamble with the laws and the Multinova fines. If you prevent this, you are culpable.
  4. The road-rager is better than you. Richer, stronger, handsomer, more powerful, etc. Some of this is in their mind and some of it may, indeed, be true – but if you do not allow them to show it, they are ANGRY. Arrogance only works if it is shared.
  5. You cannot satisfy the road-rager. Not by any means, whether that be defiance, or ignorance, or grovelling apology. The road rage is not directed at you – it is an inward attack that continues until the person has exhausted their fear and sorrow. You cannot make it better.
  6. You can, however, make it worse. If your behaviour has provoked the rage, the best and most sensible thing to do is to intensify it until the emotion rises to the point of psychotic and murderous mania. Until it is fury beyond boundary and stress beyond bearing. Get the road-rager to this stage, judge it accurately, and then slowly motor away. If you can pull into the forecourt of a hospital or police station – both well-provided with security cameras -and quickly go inside, you may be rewarded by the sight of the culprit exploding in the arms of authority. Be kind. Tell them to hold their temper…

Of course it goes without saying that you should make careful note of the licence plates of any offenders – these can be reported to the police or to people who will extract a suitable revenge for a small payment.

 

Letting The Hooks Do Their Work

We often read about how complex things should be to work well. The endless choice of fashion and fad –  together with tech and toy – will have us doing 5 procedures to maximise our pleasure, safety, or monetary return…and in many cases we will have wasted all the effort. A simpler solution was there on the counter, or in the drawer all the time.

No sphere of activity sees this more than the photographic world – except the self-publishing weblog one. We are continually being bombarded with must-do extra steps. We are looked upon as fools and dinosaurs if we do not do them. I saw one instance yesterday of this sort of built-in confusion but I saw that it has been disabled – and by the people who set it up in the first place. This gives me hope that there may be light at the end of the tunnel and that it is not an oil fire…

The car parks of Perth that are run by Wilson Parking have had a variety of operational systems over the years – from grumpy old men in little hutches beside the gate to massive ticket machines in the multi-storey parks. These machines started out simple, got complex, then more complex…then I stopped going to the multi-storeys because I feared for my sanity. The outside parks got a new wrinkle a few years back – a machine that demanded your license plate registration before it would accept your cash or credit card entry for parking.

I was always having to restart the procedure to key it in as I either forgot a number or hit the wrong key. You could see lines of people doing the same thing and getting frustrated and angry. Added to this the practice of wheel clamping to extort money and the whole idea of going into entertainment or city areas became untenable. I stayed out and so did others.

Yesterday the Wilson outside machine was one of those license plate jobs but they had disabled the function and turned on one that just issued you a ticket based on the time you paid for. The charges weren’t excessive and as it was a pay-wave job your card stayed in your hand. Finally the automatic features were allowed to run unhindered and the experience was good.

Either someone came to their senses or the machine was broken…

We Need To Rip Up The Roads

Not all of them – just the ones that go conveniently and sensibly between important points in the metropolitan area. The asphalt paving should be ripper-toothed, bulldozed, and loaded into trucks. Then it can be hauled away and dumped into the river or on the children’s playgrounds.

This would clear the way for a series of deep ruts, boulders, and impassible slopes to be constructed, along with the planting of tens of thousands of tangle bushes. A few clay pits and chemical sinkholes would not go amiss, either. Surely there must be enough PCB’s and  industrial waste to ring the city.

Of course this will strangle all commerce and movement of people and goods throughout the city. Thousands will be injured and/or lost as they try to make their way to work, schools, or shops. No ambulances or firetrucks will be able to move.

But think how glorious it will be for the owners of the suburban SUV’s. Finally they will not be the butt of contempt from their neighbours for parking an urban Patton Tank in the driveway. They can wear adventure gear and drive at nauseating angles all day. There will be deep water courses that they can splash through and if they get swept away, all the better. Perhaps we can import crocodiles.

It will still be less dangerous for the average motorist than parking out the front of the shops in Leeming and Winthrop.

Ultracilious Beats Supercilious

Blockages are interesting. Whether it is in a Post office queue or a digestive system, slow-down speeds up the natural bad manners of people and their organs and then reveals it to all about the place.

Yesterday in the servo ( Australian for service station ) I put $ 20 of petrol in the Suzuki. I was at the front pump of the line and went in to pay. The person in front of me in the pay line was a pink-haired RBF who waved a card vaguely in the direction of the machine and dashed out again. I paid in cash with the correct change. Then I walked back out to the Suzuki and got flashed.

No, not that kind of a flash. Not at my age. Flashed with car lights from the large 4WD behind me. Guess who…Pink Hair. I was blocking her passage. And yes, I do know that joke…

You are required to wear seat belts in Western Australia and to have your mirrors adjusted correctly before you drive. Also you must use indicators to signal the other drivers of your intention on the roads. I made sure mine worked. Pink Hair’s car lights apparently worked, too. A lot.

As I pulled away – correctly – I noted that she turned into the path of another 4WD approaching from the other direction. I heard no crash, but then my ears are not what they were. I do hope she calmed down before she got to her next appointment at the morgue. No-one likes an angry corpse.

When You Lose Sight Of the Ball

Went to a local petrol station last week -a 24 hr place – to get a couple of hose clamps to repair something. The sort of clamp that you tighten round a rubber hose with a screwdriver. Standard repair part to get you on the road again.

I might as well have asked for mortar bombs or flea boots. The pleasant chap behind the counter could point me to a coffee machine, glazed doughnuts, teddy bears, or bargain packs of toilet tissue. Bottled water, chocolate bars, magazines, or prepacked sandwiches.

But a car repair item in an automotive service station? Unheard of…

I suspect this will be the trend of the new shops that open up – Chemists that cannot sell you aspirin but that can retail fire logs and water pump impellers. Newsagents that don’t actually sell newspapers or magazines but who can do you a nice line of decorated coffee mugs. Lingerie shops that will sell you the knickers but not the girls to go in them. Dang.

I got out of dentistry too early. I am sure that if I opened another surgery I could sell bags of peat moss and live puppies.

Note: went to Bunnings next day. All the hose clamps that you can eat. Hot, fresh, and tasty.