A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Local Traffic

Note to self... Don't do pizza pick up after 4:30pm...
What should have been a 10 minute there and back trip took us half an hour yesterday afternoon. Cars that sit in the middle of intersections clogging up traffic flow, is fast becoming my number 1 road pet peeve.
No squabbling between the kiddies, thankfully, but the cheesy aroma emanating from the gaps of the pizza box was too much for the 9 year old who with her usual gusto, declared at 5 minute intervals that she was starving. Starving? Do children in our part of the world who devour far too many candy canes during the Christmas season know anything about starvation? I moralize... but to no avail. Alas moralizing about food doesn't seem to have any immediate effect

Christmas is a week and a half away and the roadworks around our area are still chugging along. Barriers add to the confusion when they're moved around from one week to the next. Traffic posts have gone up and golly, I know I'm going to miss the roundabout when the time comes.The end of an era... going the way of all major intersections. Projected time is "late 2010". "Late" could mean "dead" or the "31st December 2010". Let's hope it's the latter. If not, preferably before the beginning of another school term when traffic starts building up again.

In our part of the world, we take for granted these little things. Roads, traffic... A little out of sync and it makes all the difference between chaos and order. We expect people to behave themselves and do the right thing by everyone. We are afterall civilized human beings, aren't we? How we act on the roads say a lot about who we are individually and as a people.
When I was casually observing the traffic in Central Java, I was struck by the organized chaos that characterized the streets and major aterials. People seemed unencumbered by regulations and took responsibility for their own safety.

Am I envious? Maybe a tad. A teeny, tiny, tad.

I love living where I do... cleanliness, convenience to amenities/infrastructure, a higher degree of efficiency and yet sometimes I can't help wondering year after year if we haven't exchanged our most basic liberties for safety. So much so that bit by bit we have forgotten that we ever had them. From compulsory child seats to bicycle helmets... it's as if the State is the new Nanny. Those of us who have 'em can't be expected to be responsible parents without the all-seeing eye of the State breathing down our necks.

I don't have the answers... I want to live in relative safety and for my children to live in relative safety. For that to happen I know I must cede some of my personal liberty. But can we be safe from everything? And should our governments protect us from everything? Is that even possible?
I'm not sure I want any government to anyway. It's probably a hop, step and a jump to totalitarianism.

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