Friday, November 14, 2014

Cursing the traffic Jam

Yes I am guilty of cursing during a traffic jam ..My personality morphs into a restless , nasty , thankless person . I squeeze right next to the other vehicles and try and ignore anyone trying to come into my lane by looking straight ahead trying not to make eye contact ..cause I know the moment I make eye contact I'll have that familiar hand gesture and pleading eyes looking at me wanting me to give them way ..
So I just look ahead , choose to ignore the lane cutter and stare at the road ahead .
I am also a terrible passenger during a traffic jam . When my husband drives I give him non stop instructions on which lane to take for faster exit . Often my screaming and shouting falls on deaf ears and I scream and shout even more when I see the lane I suggested moving faster than the one we seem to be stuck in ..
This morning however I realized , how grateful I am to be living in a city like Hongkong where the traffic at least moves . I was stuck in traffic in Cebu for over 2 hours and we had a distance of 8 km to cover . Listening to my friend ranting on about the traffic suddenly put things in perspective ..
Funny how when you hear someone else rant and curse you immediately try and pacify and become philosophical . This was an entirely new me trying to calm my friend and trying to make him see the futility of screaming and cursing the traffic through his closed car windows . Who was hearing his ranting except him and I and no amount of ranting could have made the traffic move faster ..
My husband and I are both guilty of this ranting, but hearing someone else go on about it made me realize how pathetic it sounds and how utterly useless it is ..
Who is to blame for this excess traffic on the roads if not us drivers . This situation is not unique to any city or country . Everywhere in the world the number of vehicles is doubling almost every year . The infrastructure is incapable of handling any more. We humans in our greed have expanded in all areas . There are more shops , more vehicles , more houses , more planes , more trains , just about more of everything . Despite the expansion we are shrinking . We are becoming more selfish and more insular . We walk with our heads down staring into our smart phones . We are getting more and more short tempered . We curse the traffic , we get upset if our food is not on the table within 15 minutes and that too cooked to perfection . We loose our cool at the slightest provocation . We ignore issues if they don't directly impact us . We pretend to be living in cocoons, but sadly we cannot remain in our cocoons . Everything and everyone is connected . What one does has a direct or indirect impact on another and eventually on each and everyone of us .
I know that consumption will not suddenly stop . We in our skewed sense believe that more is better and we keep on accumulating . I am as much guilty of this accumulative culture as is anyone reading this ..
But sitting in traffic for over two hours with my bladder ready to burst because of copious amounts of Boca juice ( coconut juice ) in a city like Cebu, where life is supposed to be slow and happy ( which it certainly did not seem like ) I had my reality check .
I was sitting in a huge Air-conditioned car taking pictures of the insane traffic . I was visiting only for a day but apparently this is the norm. This is becoming the norm almost everywhere . Most metropolitans are bursting at the seams ... I thought about what I could do in a situation like this . Walking or taking public transport was not an option for me . So I had to continue to sit with my legs tightly crossed and continue to hear the ranting and by the end I too had joined in the cursing.
Finally when I could empty my bladder I could think again . I don't think I can solve the traffic situation but there is something we all can do . We can start of by being grateful to be sitting in a car and then maybe deciding to not use the car for at least one day a month and then going to one day a week . Car pooling as often as we can . Using public transport if it is available . Our poor planet is carrying so much load that it's only a matter of time that it will be unable to take any more. Only if we could all stop and think for a moment and then really act on the thought . Often we indulge in debates about the state of the world but carry on exactly like before . It just becomes another conversation topic . Most of us complain and still remain a part of the problem . I am no different , but sitting in that car looking at lines of people waiting for a jeepny to take them to their destination , I did feel extremely privileged and lucky . If educated people like us don't do anything about the situation that we are creating then who will ? We always want the other person to change , but we ourselves like to sit on the sidelines and indulge in intelligent debate .
At least we can try and become a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem. I will surely try and reduce my car travel at least by 10 % . But I will also ensure that when I do travel during peak period I will not have coffee and Boca juice before I embark on my 2 hour - 8 km ride :))))
And I will Zip my mouth the next time I am in traffic and look lovingly at all the drivers trying to squeeze in front of me . I will smile at them but continue to look ahead at the road . After all I should not take my eyes off the road ..
Love and happiness .

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