Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Song that Never Ends

            St. Bob says he’s made a deal with the devil that will let him live to be 120 years old.  It’s quite simple, really.  He has agreed to die when the road work in West Sacramento is finished.  “He thinks he’s made a good deal,” Bob explains as we pass yet another stretch of unfinished freeway.  “But he’s never done a highway deal in California before.”
            And we’re not alone.  All across the fruited plains there are cities whose roads are constantly under construction.  In Pennsylvania and Michigan they claim to have two seasons: winter and road construction.  A guy in Louisiana put a mattress in a pothole, then climbed in and took a nap, just to make a point.  The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway has been under construction for so long (since the 1960s) that folks call it The Brooklyn-Queens Distressway.  It’s hard to single out a few states because all of them have sections of blocked off lanes and bulldozers that, well, never seem to finish the job.
            Which leads me to my favorite conspiracy theory.  I think road repair is a scam, designed to self-perpetuate.  Yes, new asphalt is laid down, but not enough to accommodate the new suburb or commercial complex coming in six months.  So the median and sidewalks they’re building now will have to be torn out again shortly, to widen the road.  Don’t even get me started on the saplings they’re going to rip out.
            Freeways amaze me most of all, since they have finite edges. They’re just so wide.  So why not fill them with all the necessary lanes when you first make them, instead of carving one lane at a time into the gravelly shoulder?  You know you’re going to need more lanes eventually—why not just make them all and be done with it while you’re already here?
            And, as is often the answer to such questions, it comes down to money.  If you make all the lanes possible when you first lay down a road, how can you come back later, at much greater expense, and re-do it?  Ka-ching, my friends.
            I went to several internet sites, researching the insane amount of redundant road work being done and guess what?  Several government big wigs actually defend it, saying it boosts the economy and creates jobs.  Really?  Why not just have folks dig holes and fill them up again if all you want is busywork?  Meanwhile, what’s happening to the economy and the jobs of commuters who have to spend two extra hours every day navigating the rubble?  And these are our tax dollars, not just some magical fund for road work that someone dug up in a treasure box.  Or maybe that’s what they’re looking for.
At least, if you have to be in a car, know how to get in and out of one while maintaining your dignity in a skirt.  Granted, this one’s for the ladies, but check out my Youtube channel here, where I’m the YouTube Mom!   

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