Yesterday I told my sister I had written a blog about an apple slicer which she might like to read. She looked at me with haughty disdain and said “The things you write about are stupid”.
A 16 year old girl’s opinions are very important to me.
Because of this I decided to give you all the chance to pick what I would blog about today; I gave you you all the opportunity to pick a blog topic that would be interesting and relevant to you. (True, I didn’t tell you I was doing this – I’m sneaky like that!) So, you picked today’s topic. And out of all the possibilities, all the weird and wonderful and interesting things you could have made me talk about, you picked traffic jams.
Traffic jams: the most boring experience in the world.
I worry about you guys sometimes.
Dublin city center was a traffic disaster yesterday evening. Student protests had caused approximately (I am reliable and never exaggerate) 90% of the roads in the city to be closed off. (As far as I can tell, student protests are to young adults what “playing house” is to young children). My regular 40 minute car journey home was turned into a 2 and a half hour boredom extravaganza.
I honestly struggled to find some way to write an interesting post about this singular experience. Then I came up with a brilliant idea: I would write about all the interesting things that you CAN’T do when you’re in a traffic jam. The only thing you can do when you’re in traffic is to not do anything at all.
So, here’s the top 5 things I didn’t do yesterday:
1. Sit Comfortably
Traffic jams possess the unique and fascinating ability to make every single sitting position both incredibly uncomfortable and incredibly annoying. Right leg over left leg; left leg over right leg; two legs stretched out beside each other; two legs tucked in; legs on dashboard; I tried it all. Nothing works. The more you try to get comfortable the less comfortable you become. And God help you if you need to pee!
2. Listen to the Radio
It’s rush hour, right Bob?
Sure is Tim.
Maybe we should put a radio show on, Bob. For all the bored commuters!
That’s a great idea Tim. What should we talk about?
Tim, that’s brilliant! People love hearing about politics.
All the time, Bob. Every radio channel, every radio show: pure politics.
Well that’s obvious Tim. Every single radio show should be exclusively about politics.
Ok then, it’s decided. I think we should do interviews. Nothing beats a political pundit on the radio.
Fantastic idea Tim!
What will we have them say? Something insightful? Something informative? Something analytic?
Absolutely not Tim! We’ll have them say absolutely nothing at all.
Nothing at all, Bob?!
That’s right Tim. We’ll have every single pundit basically say “The recession is bad. We should fix it.”
That’s all they’re going to say Bob?!
No solutions? No positive input?
Well… Maybe some finger pointing.
But Bob, don’t people already know that the recession is bad and that we should fix it?
Yes Tim, but the fact that everyone knows it already means that it’s really important; in fact, it would be irresponsible not to say it.
Ah. I see what you mean Bob.
Let’s do it then Tim.
Ok Bob. We’ll make a radio show that says an awful lot about nothing regarding a topic that everyone continues to hope will be interesting. Thank God we’re here to set them straight!
Tim, you’re a genius.
Thank you Bob. God bless the radio.
I need space to think. I like to pace up and down; I like refilling glasses of water that are already full; I like walking up and down the stairs several times a minute. Another thing I need to do is make expressive hand gestures. You know that little wave that the Queen does? I do that to help me think. Maybe it’s weird, but damn me if it doesn’t work! You can’t do this in the car. You’re strapped in and you’re stuck. Besides which, if you did jig around in your car, your car would jig with you; and it might appear to the casual observer that you’d decided to do something altogether less innocent to pass the time.
And everyone who looked in your window would then wonder why you were waving at them.
Put those two misinterpretations together and you’ve got yourself one very awkward situation.
4. Read a Book
You would think that you wouldn’t get carsick in a car that was moving slower than a snail.
You would be wrong.
5. Escape from the Cops
It’s understandable that all your pent-up rage at being stuck in an unmoving block of traffic has to go somewhere when you finally get the chance to actually drive. If you take out that rage on a few helpless pedestrians, well, it’s not that unreasonable, right?
Once again – I really hate to tell you this – you would be wrong.
And when the cops come to get you there’s nowhere you can go. They can saunter up, leisurely take down your licence number, then open your door, unbluckle your seatbelt (cops are nothing if not helpful) and put you under arrest – and all you can do is sit there, shaking your fist in helpless frustration. Sure, you could try to run away on foot – but all the other maddened rush-hour drivers are just waiting, foot poised over accelerator, for you to make that reckless mistake.
But then again. I suppose it probably wouldn’t be all that bad:
After all, the cops are probably stuck in traffic too.