Random chaos

I had some appointments in Brisbane today.  This means descending from the lofty and beautiful surrounds of Mapleton and scorching down the 100 kilometre length of the Bruce Highway.  There’s really no other way.

To be honest I don’t mind the drive.  Perhaps my most perverse pleasure with the commute is it reminds me what could be.  Many poor city folk sit for hours in their car before and after work.  My normal commute is a short stroll to the office (though I’ve extended it to a 3km power walk each way, but it’s my choice).

I also don’t mind catching up on the day’s news courtesy of 612 ABC or just being in the radio cocoon – listening to music or podcasts.  This is all very amiable when it’s kept to the 90 minutes between home and head office at Mitchelton, or across to QCCC Brookfield or even the slightly longer haul to Tamborine Mountain.

But then you get days like today.  That sinking, sliding feeling you get when you’ve just turned onto Gympie Road, northbound to come home.  The robotic intro voice to the traffic report does its bit “at the next intersection, turn around” along with a funky piece of Muzak.  The breezy banter between presenter Kelly Higgins-Divine and Brad the traffic guy and then “there’s been a collision between two cars and a truck on the Bruce Highway at Boundary Road northbound, expect lengthy delays”.  Grrrrrrr.

There’s really no way around it, the Bruce Highway is really the only artery to bleed traffic north, and now it’s clogged by the cholesterol of mangled cars, emergency vehicles, traffic investigators and officious police.  Meantime behind me the throbbing heart of the Brisbane CBD is pumping larger and larger pulses of end-of-day commuters.  It’s gridlock, and you know the accident site is still ten kilometres ahead.

 

My normal commute is a bit saner (no tolls on this bridge either).

So this evening I crawled up that highway, occasionally changing lanes convinced that my presence in said lane ensured it would be the one that would remain static.  A certain madness creeps in where you mark a remarkable vehicle in the other two lanes, just to see if they are indeed surging ahead (often times I had to replace them with a new remarkable because the originals had disappeared out of sight).

 

Eventually, after more than an hour, you come to the bottleneck.  Several  policemen are standing around disinterestedly smoking, watching a tow-truck man disappearing under a precariously teetering semi-trailer.  The two cars and the ambulances are long gone.  Oil and water is spewed out over the concrete.  Cones are spread out to block the lane for several hundred metres on either side, no doubt to satiate the insane demands of the OH&S nazis and the litigation lawyers.

Merge into the lane to miss the cones (and the smoking policemen), crawl along staring at the source of the chaos and eventually squeeze out the other end like so much champagne out of a Formula One bottle to be confronted with open road and perfectly benign and fast conditions.  Smile smugly when Brad at the traffic centre comes on the radio and mentions the crash again while adding there’s also been a triple car nose-to-tail back at Bald Hills, probably around the place where I first encountered grid-lock.

So what you ask?  A couple of seconds of inattention (maybe they were talking on their phone or sending a text message) from one motorist on a highway and the plans of thousands of people suffer.  Petrol is burned, fumes belch into the air, dinners go cold, kids go to bed without Dad or Mum, dates get stood-up, favourite TV shows are missed, repeated over and over and over again.

I just wanted to reinforce that no person is an island.

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4 Responses to Random chaos

  1. Anne Grant says:

    That was a great insight into your day! Now come and talk to me!

  2. Pingback: A master of the dark arts « Co-mission

  3. Ben Cann says:

    Remind me again how we found you!!! Love it man.

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