Small Town Stress

There’s one main two-lane road into town.  Right at the border, the city is putting in two roundabouts.  The traffic flow stops for 10-15 minutes, first in one direction, and then the opposite way.  Because I just escaped from megalopolis, this kind of delay is nothing much to write home (or to you) about.  I’m used to sitting in eight lanes of traffic that may become immobile at any time for up to an hour.  However, it was interesting to observe that these drivers aren’t used to that.  The small delays trigger the same behaviors here as the big delays do down in El Lay.

People began flashing their lights.  They tapped their horns.  They rolled down their windows and poked their heads out, craning for a look ahead.  A few people made U-turns and screeched away back the way they had come.  Most weren’t taking any chance of getting out of line.  Because no one was likely to be coming into the Urgent Care, which is inconveniently located right on the main road, I walked down a couple of blocks to a local roadhouse for breakfast.

Everyone in the café was complaining about the traffic situation.  They were trying to affix blame, to determine the culprit for this outrage.

“The city just cheaped out.  They shoulda bought a traffic light.”

(That would have required a tax increase to pay for it.)

“I can’t get in to see my doctor!”

(I suggested to this person that they remain parked at the café and walk to the Urgent Care.  They were our only patient all morning.)

“I can see one roundabout, but why two of them, blocks apart?”

(Ya got me there.  There’s probably some traffic diversion study to answer that, but pragmatically speaking it does look dumb to the casual observer.)

Small towns have all the same problems that big towns do.  The difference is one of scale.  I’m grateful for that difference.

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12 Comments

Filed under Emotions, humor, symbolism, Technology

12 responses to “Small Town Stress

  1. Good thing you’re used to it. 15 minutes would annoy me.

  2. Pie

    This post made me laugh. Road rage is everywhere. They need to spend a day either driving in central London, or driving towards the Blackwall Tunnel in East London. That part of town is particularly tasty. That’s all I’m saying…

    • Been there, done that. Not gonna do it again, that’s all I’M saying. The tube, the bus, or good, old, reliable black cabs for me. I do love London WITHOUT a car, however, and had no problem getting anywhere.. There’s really no reason anyone not hauling goods or equipment need have a car.

  3. The roads still look well paved. No visible dirt or cracked roads. No Amish buggies or large farm equipment crawling down the road…

    Sounds like they just need to put up until the work is done. ;)

  4. I like the way you do a little man-on-the-street reportage with the quotes. Hey, roundabouts are the way to go if people learn how to use them, but Americans freak out about them. They’re the opposite of 4-way stops, which will certainly put a hitch in many people’s gitalong. In a 4-way or uncontrolled, I use the rule “stop, then go, and don’t hit anyone on your right”. In the roundabout, it’s “just go, but don’t hit anyone on your left.”

    Why anyone would want a traffic light when you can have a roundabout is beyond me, but then people often clamour for things that are not in their own interest.

  5. They should experience driving in Africa. Now that would be something to get frustrated about! *Laugh*

    • You’ve understood my intent quite correctly. People will get frustrated merely because they can.
      As frustrations go, I look forward to driving in Africa! I kind of enjoy delay and having to deal with roads in unexpected disrepair or unplanned detours. Like Pie, the stuff that gets me is downtown London, which I drove in at Christmas. I don’t think I would even attempt Hong Kong.

  6. I’m grateful for the scale too.
    We actually have to “go to town” when we need to go to town (our town consists of two general stores [only open from May to November] the firehall, the town hall, a rec centre and a couple of marinas) and the town we have to “go to” for any sort of situation only has one main road too. The quirk with that road, which starts at the north end of town and stops at the south end of town, is that the name of it changes 5 times from start to finish. Without turning any corners. The street numbers start over too, with each name change, yet you haven’t actually left the road you were on. It’s very bizarre.

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