Every morning, you’re stuck in severe traffic congestion, driving at a snail’s pace. And now that it’s back to school and university, the situation has got even worse.
Major roadworks adds to your misery, especially when the alternative routes conjured up to bypass them cause massive tailbacks instead. It seems like every driver, including yourself, has long run out of patience. Above all, you’re dismally aware that the situation cannot improve because you live on an island measuring 27 Km in length by 14.5 Km in width, together with another 420,000 people who collectively own 340,980 cars.
Like you, everybody is intent on driving their car. It’s a wonder that you can actually tootle along a clear, albeit short, stretch of road every now and then.
Good grief – you stare at the queue ahead.
Instantly, your mind drifts off to those blissfully desolate roads in the Irish hinterland of Connemara almost devoid of human sign, or to the Trans-Canada highway where flatness and endless kilometres of open grasslands with unobstructed views are the defining characteristic.
You wish you were driving there right now. Instead, you’re belted up and firmly installed behind the wheel in a building contractor’s paradise where traffic moves bumper to bumper. Mentally, you’ve tagged every detail of the car that you’re tailgating – its colour, its model, the shape of its rear lights, its bumper and even its number plate. You sigh heavily with exasperation and tune in to the radio show that lifts your spirits and gets you smiling every time.
Out comes the box of French croissants that you keep in the glove compartment of your car. Be they au buerre or not, they simply taste heavenly at the gridlocked stretch along Regional Road. The driver in the adjacent car that has more power going to its speakers than to its wheels watches enviously as you wash the croissant down with a mugful of strong dark roast coffee.
It suddenly feels like your mid-morning break is already over, so you reapply your lipstick in the mirror and, as you smack your lips playfully, you can see the driver in the car behind looking in his own rear-view while he shaves! Whatever next?
He reacts with a sudden, loud honk urging you to look ahead and drive on… only to find yourself at another standstill in next to no time. Perhaps now’s the right moment to step out of your car and snap a few selfies showing the lengthy tailback of traffic behind and in front of your car, share them online and, if possible, tag the transport minister in while you update your status with something like #inthetrafficjamofmydreams!
Alternatively, you could write a haiku about the immense pleasure of travelling in the rush hour and post it on Twitter. You could also make up for lost time by using your smartphone to read your email instead of just staring into space. Or else, try to complete the sudoku puzzle that you started earlier at breakfast.
But do take heart, because there is a glimmer of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, a moment of tremendous joy when you push that clutch in and shift into third gear, hit the gas and finally drive away from that dreadful gridlock.