In the space of a ¼ mile, there happen to be no less than 3 stop signs and 6 speed bumps. The speed limit has been reduced from 50 km/h to 30 km/h. Honestly, I would get there faster on foot and pushing a wheelbarrow and I wouldn’t be nearly as frustrated. By the time I’ve travelled that strip where obviously the message that’s being rammed into your shocks is to slow down, I’m most excited to see that I can do the next ¼ mile without obstructions. Relief at last! Of course, I immediately set out to make up the time lost on that last ¼ mile and while I’m at it, I’m going to make myself feel better by revving my engines to work out my frustration. Yes yes, always a most effective response. Know what I mean? Sure, I could meditate or take deep breaths and get all zen, but whatever for when I can engage in a bit of satisfying road rage?
I’m really wondering what they’re thinking… Those who by their very nature take a Sunday drive will not notice all the bumps and obstructions, and those whom they are attempting to slow down will actually speed up between all the bumps and stops and get worked up to boot. So does it really solve anything to add yet another speed bump? Oh, and did I mention that the streets are already designed to slow you down by the simple fact that they are winding roads, somewhat akin to a go-karting track? But no. We can’t be trusted to maintain a decent pace so we will respond aggressively to far too many orders to do this and do that and don’t do this and don’t do that. There are so many signs out there with all that you cannot do that you don’t even notice them anymore. How often do I go flying over a speed bump only because I slowed down for the first three signs which were merely warnings. Eventually I give up and put my foot back on the gas, because that’s where it feels good, only to finally hit that speed bump they’ve been warning me about for the last three minutes.
This week I had a most joyous experience. I just got back from spending a few days in an area where children are not only allowed to, but actually do, roam completely free and without a million adults watching with hawk eyes. The playgrounds are full of the types of games from back in the 20th century. The tall slides made of metal and wood, the spinning horizontal wheel thing that you grab onto and run with until it’s spinning and then jump on to eventually fall off. Seesaws made of metal and wood. Swings with long chains so you can swing high. I was watching the kids play. At one point there were about 30 kids of all ages and the older kids naturally slow down when the younger ones are around. I watched kids fly off that spinning wheel thing into, guess what…good old gravel and sand. And they would get up and dust themselves off while the others slowed down the wheel so they could get back on. There was no crying, just laughter, joy and can you imagine…freedom!!! It was so very fun to see. I too felt free. At first I wondered why I felt so free given that I was merely watching. Ultimately I realized how liberating it was to see and feel the freedom the children were enjoying. Who knew that seeing a tall winding slide made of metal where the kids could actually pick up speed rather than those useless plastic things that are only six feet high at best and with so much friction from the plastic that it completely defies gravity and is nowhere near a thrill would provide such a feeling of freedom? Oh and to see the kids riding their bikes without helmets or kneepads and swimming in a full blown pool without parental supervision. Fabulous!!! They were smiling, happy and free. No crying, no accidents…just joy.
So is it road rage or speed bumps that came first? My take on it is that all the restrictions cause frustration which needs an outlet. The more you put restrictions on me, the more I will push and rebel to find freedom again. How do you see it?
Maybe I just need to learn to park it on the damn bump and be grateful that it’s there. Yes, someday perhaps I’ll reach that state of enlightenment and become a Buddhist frog. But for now, I’m enjoying being frustrated that the bump exists…