The Annual Family Traffic Jam

Today we motor south to eat lunch with the wife’s family. It is an annual event occasioned by Christmas and is generally quite pleasant once we reach our destination. It’s some 60 Km from our house and can be accessed by a modern freeway.

This freeway is under permanent reconstruction – it has been incomplete for the last 6 years to my certain knowledge – and the traffic restrictions will reduce the flow of holiday-makers to a trickle at several points. Bumper-to-bumper 60 Km there and B-T-B back again at the end of the afternoon.

There is an electric train service to the town where the relatives live but no effective connection between the train station and their district – and it is a spread-out town. No taxis to speak of and precious few Ubers operating on Christmas day.

I’ll be driving, so not drinking. The relatives will be in a reverse position so the day should deteriorate nicely.

Watching The Slaves Crawl From The Mines

We have road rules here in Western Australia that compel us to slow down to 40 km per hour as we pass salt mines or sweat shops when the slaves are being lead into or released from their confinement. It is generally thought to be for safety purposes in case one of the desperate creatures throws themselves under the car wheels in a bid to end their misery. This would be a major economic loss for their owners, as well as a jolly nuisance for the car driver.

Actually, though, I think it is to allow the people who see them trudging in long, sad lines to enjoy themselves and their own relative freedom from the torture. Nothing makes the heart gladder than the miseries of others, kept at a convenient distance.

The inmates of the slave farms are identifiable by their uniform clothing. The hilarious part of it is that the unattractive garments they are compelled to wear are not provided by the slave owners – the parents of the unfortunates are paying stiff little prices for everything they wear. And the clothing is generally marked so that it cannot be used for other purposes.

Of course there are always some down sides to any cheerful story. In the case of the slaves, some are being taught useful traders so that they can be on-sold after their indentures are completed. When they do successfully learn their trade they become cocky and arrogant. That is when they set the dogs on them.

The part that puzzles me is the provision that is made for guards to keep them from escaping during the transition from the slave factories to their hovels. They do not seem to be armed, apart from a set of flags or a staff that looks like a lollypop. Perhaps they carry guns or tasers under their fluoro vests. I know I would, considering what some of the smaller slaves look like.

Do You Remember 1973?

Or to be more specific, do you remember 1973 in Albany Highway, Vic Park on a Saturday morning? And being stuck on one side of the street because the shopping traffic was too thick to let you cross? Like, for an hour…

Well, welcome to 2019 on Leach Highway every day. And Leach has 6 lanes and a centre island…upon which one presumes you will eventually find the bones of a castaway.

I have just returned from the hobby shop and noted two teenagers stranded on one side of the highway, trying to get across it to get to a bus stop. In all honesty, they would have been better served by catching one from their side of the street, going all the way to the terminal, and returning with the circling bus. It would have been safer and quicker.

There is an explanation about the increase in traffic and you can use your own bigotry to complain about it. Asians, old people, Donald Trump, the State Government, and your parents would be a good start. Then add infidels, The Royal Family, and South Africans if you need to fill up any unused space in the rant. I’ve always suspected aliens…ever since Roswell.

Self-Promotion For Seniors

Just because you have gotten older doesn’t mean that you have to get wiser. Join the BGA Self Promotion School and make an ass of yourself just like you did when you were young. Bonus: Now you can make your children and grandchildren cringe, instead of doing it to your parents.

Here’s a few suggestions to get you started. We also have a few to get you stopped, but some of them are illegal.

A.   We have been told that we should be learning something all our lives. As we get older, that can be as simple and beneficial as don’t climb ladders to clean the gutters and avoid driving at night. But this sort of practical thing doesn’t generate government subsidies, so things like Universities Of The Third Age have been invented.

They appear to be old folks clubs that pretend to intellectual pursuit. I would be willing to bet that tea and scones features prominently in the academic program. In any case, most of the codgers know most of the stuff that they try to teach – and know it because they did it themselves earlier on.

B.   Are you the sort of oldie who wants to become involved in volunteering? Have we got a treat for you…With the proposed cutback on illegal Asian slave labour for the market gardens and other processing industries – and a subsequent crackdown on slave smuggling through the airport – the fields will become bare and unproductive. Here is where a senior can step in – All you need is a straw hat, a pair of overalls, and a cotton sack. The tanned complexion will be provided for free and you can qualify for fried chicken and watermelon by singing work songs and spirituals. Yassuh…

C.   Are you good with children? Are you good with grandchildren? How do you define good? Could you pick one off at 300 yds. over iron sights? The Education Department would like to talk to you about our new sniper course.

D.   Men’s Sheds have become extremely popular as places where men can go, build furniture or model airplanes, and complain about the Government and women. We propose to open a similar chain of venues called Women’s Drawing Rooms. In them, women can meet to do arts and crafts and complain about the Government and men. Those who refuse to deal with anything in life on the basis of gender will be accommodated by a neutral meeting place where they can do nothing and complain about the Government and boredom.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

The Bus Tour – Route 33 – Somewhere, Eventually…

If you want to test your character as well as your stamina, get on the wrong bus. I did recently and found out a lot.

The basic problem was the Sunday schedule of the Transperth buses brigaded up two quite different routes at the same stop. And, as I was unfamiliar with the stop and did not look at the reporting sign on the front of the vehicle. I stepped blithely aboard the first one that presented itself.

I travel free on Sunday as a senior, so no money changed hands.

But when the bus turned off the main highway into the backstreets of a suburb, I guessed instantly what I had done. And then I examined myself to see what I thought about it and what I planned to do. I found that I was fine with the whole thing – I have all day to sit in the air conditioning on the bus and wherever it ended up, it would eventually return to where I got on. Or perhaps I could amend the problem half-way along. SI I settled for the ride.

Eventually it debouched me at our Technology university – at a bus port designed for what must be thousands of weekday commuters. It was deserted, but the bus driver was able to point me to a stand where I might catch another onward. With less than 10 minutes’ wait, a bench to sit on, and a magazine to read, it was no disaster. Eventually another bus I had never travelled on took me to a train station I recognised and I could resume what I started.

What did I see? I saw the densely packed housing around the university, the sprawling campus ( as always, under construction…) and the far reaches of 1930’s suburbia. When you can look out of a side window you can see far more than driving a car.

I have had a small adventure, and it suggests further ones spent on the public transport during weekends. With no anxiety about parking or traffic jams on the way, lots of destinations take on a new appeal – and if there is time to spare everything you see is rewarding.

If You Wish To Be Wealthy…

Sell medicine to the sick and fun to the healthy. It used to be possible to become rich selling food to the hungry but now that the larger corporations have taken over production and distribution there is little point in opening a local deli.

Leaving aside the sale of better health to those who are poorly…and a complex thing that is, too…we come to the idea of selling fun. Making other people happy and fulfilled is the goal and a grim business it is, too.

This was illustrated at a trade show I’m attending this weekend. For the 4-wheel-drive vehicles  and adventure accessories. It is by for the largest exhibition I have seen, both in area of display and amount of money that was asked. Also a very adventurous thing since it is being conducted on some of the most gruelling times of the year – 40º + yesterday. However, that did not deter the customers…because they wanted to buy things that will be fun to have and to go places that excite them.

I will not be wealthy because of it – I’ll submit a modest account for giving three lectures over three days – but then I won’t spend any money amongst the fabulous exhibitors either. It’ll a profitable and enjoyable thing to do and may give rise to more paid gigs in the future.

Moral of it all is that if you want to follow the money, follow the fun. That’s what people will fork out for.