Friday, August 06, 2010

Canberra Appreciation Month: The Open Road

Canberra roads connect 100% of Canberran dwellings and town centres, and as such, are integral to the Canberran way of life. This is why it is strange that a law was passed which decreed that every road in Canberra was to be ripped up at the same time and then very slowly re-laid, making travel through the city what can only be described as “a pain in the ass.”

This law has made the occupation of “guy who stands on the side of the road holding the ‘STOP’ sign” the most sought after job in Canberra, edging out public servant, dole bludger and Academy Drink Spiker. In a recent survey of Canberra’s workforce, it was shown that road workers (man with shovel, man riding digger, man with cigarette) are the highest paid people in the nation’s capital, eclipsing lawyers, doctors, rugby players and drug barons – the latter two being the same profession, of course.

Many Canberran children born after the year 2000 have never known a time when there was ever more than one lane of traffic open anywhere in the city. There are also thousands of learner drivers who have received their licenses by being in bumper-to-bumper traffic for the duration of their logbook test, waiting for the man holding the ‘STOP’ sign to turn it around to ‘SLOW’. Many young drivers who make it beyond the city’s limits will find themselves confronted with a road sign that they may never have seen before:

Many local Canberrans who cross the border and see double, triple, even four lanes of open, unimproved road outside of Canberra are never the same again. Psychiatrists have claimed that the "Freedom Overload Syndrome" (FOS) confuses, scares and excites the young Canberran driver's brain, which is incapable of processing the words "End," "Road" and "Work" simultaneously. When FOS is combined with the fact that the driver can now shift into the previously unused fourth gear of their car and drive above 40km/h, most simply turn their car around and re-enter the safety of the labyrinthine detours that Canberra has to offer.

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